Static electricity/Howard Community College/Fall2012/p3-502-hkm/New Capacitor

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In order to make a new capacitor, I needed a new material to act as the separation between the positive and negative poles of electricity. Since I still wanted to see if there was arcing between the two different charges, so I needed clear material that would not catch on fire and was stronger than glass. Using this, I selected plexiglass as the best possible choice to replace the glass. I had to mound this on something so that it would be able to stand up, and the material it was mounted on couldn't conduct electricity and still be easy to work with. This being the case, wood would be the best choice for the base.

Step 1[edit | edit source]

The first step was to cut the plexiglass into the right shape. I wanted to keep a similar size to the fish tank capacitor that failed, so it would have to be between 30"-34" wide and 16"-20" tall. After cutting the rectangle, the plexiglass had have its edges smoothed out to make it more safe to transport.

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Step 2[edit | edit source]

The next step was to make the wooden base that would hold the plexiglass. My initial thoughts were to cut a groove into the wood and rest the plexiglass in there with supports on the sides. However, it was simpler to have two pieces of wood in parallel on the base piece of wood hold up the plexiglass just fine.

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Step 3[edit | edit source]

Now that the base is ready and holds up the plexiglass, the aluminum foil had to be applied to plexiglass. I had to place the foil in a way so that the piece was 2" from the top, 2" from the sides, and 2" from the base plate. Then, I had to secure the aluminum foil in place with electrical tape.

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Testing[edit | edit source]

With the capacitor finished, all that was left was to test it. I made sure that everyone around had eye protection in case something went wrong and the plexiglass shattered. I also established that the test would be deemed successful if the capacitor charged the electricity with no damage or if the arc of electricity went over the top of the capacitor. The test proved to be successful and the video is at