25 November 2008

Electricity generated from falling water

But not in the way you would think. In the setup shown in the video, ordinary water drips from a common reservoir through two bottomless paintcans into two metal wastebaskets. As the process continues, a potential difference of 10-20,000 volts is generated and finally discharged via a spark.

The arrangement is known as a "Kelvin Electrostatic Generator" and would have been the sensation of any reputable alchemist in medieval times. It's still impressive today.

I found the video at the curiously-named and interesting ChocolateChipCookiesRock blog.


  1. 10-20,000 kilovolts would be millions of volts. So you can probably lose the ,000 after the 20 or the kilo- before the volts. :)

  2. You're absolutely correct. I've amended the text accordingly.

    A thousand thanks.


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