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Harnassing Static Electricity


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:lol: I am definately not comfortable with that wording!

 

:idea: That's what they pay me for. :eek2:

 

Other than having just a little bit of juice available, though I agree you could store it in a capacitor to trickle charge a battery, there is the matter of the dry weather conditions necessary to create the static in the first place. It seems to me this is an infrequent occurance and investing in equipment to harness the static is not worth the gain.

 

Do you have a multi-meter and any little capacitors around?

 

To get this clear in my mind, if you were to charge a capacitor with static electricity from your body, would you have to be connected to it while you're rubbing up a charge, or only after you're charged? Would one side of the capacitor need to be grounded while charging it? :)

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:idea: That's what they pay me for. :eek2:

 

Other than having just a little bit of juice available, though I agree you could store it in a capacitor to trickle charge a battery, there is the matter of the dry weather conditions necessary to create the static in the first place. It seems to me this is an infrequent occurance and investing in equipment to harness the static is not worth the gain.

 

Do you have a multi-meter and any little capacitors around?

 

To get this clear in my mind, if you were to charge a capacitor with static electricity from your body, would you have to be connected to it while you're rubbing up a charge, or only after you're charged? Would one side of the capacitor need to be grounded while charging it? :)

 

Well, I am getting ridiculously large shocks every few minutes around my house. It is naturally dry in Virginia during the winter so I would have a whole season to charge things. No multi-meter or capacitors around.

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My buddy's older brother did this when I was in high school. I really thought it was just the coolest thing. He used a long insulated copper wire like Dutchdivco describes. As I recall, he was able to charge a car battery in a few days.

 

Other than having just a little bit of juice available, though I agree you could store it in a capacitor to trickle charge a battery...

 

This link describes using a spark plug and an ignition coil which sounds brilliant.

 

The thing building up a charge would be connected to a spark plug, which would discharge each time it builds up enough charge. The other spark plug lead would be connected to the secondary coil of the ignition coil (the blue part on this diagram). The coil would work as a transformer lowering the voltage and delivering it in pulses to the battery which should charge it.

 

The positive side of the battery is then connected to the primary coil while the negative side of the battery is grounded. There's then a large capacitor between the negative battery lead and the "antenna".

 

These parts are all cheap, if not readily available in most people's garage. Who's up for it :)

 

~modest

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Most pholtovoltaic solar and wind electric power systems use 12 volt, although they use 'marine' batteries instead of car batteries, and usually use a 'bank' of them. I'm thinking, A) This could be used as a supplement to such a system charging even when cloudy or windless, or :rolleyes: By using a bigger system, (Really just need more insulated copper wire, could be run in several layers over the same coarse, so wouldn't add much to cost, just more insulators perhaps) could supply ALL the recharging for an 'off-grid' system.I'm definetly up for trying this, although I can't start on it yet. Since I'm planning on building an off-grid system, I will need the bank of batteries and inverters, charge monitors anyway.Before laying out the BIG expence of solar cells, I will set up a system and see how much charging I can get from it. Even if it just reduces the # of solar panels I need, that would be significant, as they are the highest $ item in the system.Unfortunately, won't be able to start for about 6 mos.Jim

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Most pholtovoltaic solar and wind electric power systems use 12 volt, although they use 'marine' batteries instead of car batteries, and usually use a 'bank' of them. I'm thinking, A) This could be used as a supplement to such a system charging even when cloudy or windless, or :gift: By using a bigger system, ...

Jim

 

I like it Jim! I knew this was discussed at Hypog before so I found the thread. :wave2: As I describe in post #5, I heard about this power idea in relation to a large antenna for Ham radio, but in that case the power being induced was unwanted. :friday: :)

 

Thread: >> Waves

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I also posted about this on another site, and people who know alot more about me about electricity assured me it will work. I'm definetly gonna try it. As I said, at the least it could be a supplement to solar cells. Apperently you can get some pretty high voltages, as my previous post suggests.That was the one where I was quoting the guy on the other site, who talked about 2 guys who used old coke bottles as insulators, and got scared so dismantled it.They gave me the correct instructions for how to wire it up, with the coil and sparkplug, to make it work.Wish I could start on it right now, but I've got a project I'm in the middle of, have to finish first.Jim

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  • 9 months later...

Actually you *can* get lightning to strike in the same place over and over. All you need is a rod/conductor and you pass a laser up into the clouds. Say about mid way the laser is passing very close to the top of that rod. The Laser Ionizes the air and the lightning tried to follow the laser, there is no real conduction and so it strikes the rod.

 

The other thing is people saying static is not that 'strong' are kind of neglecting the fact they could run miles of something like that under a roadway or like say the tension wires of a bridge or anywhere were friction is created over and over.... that would build up.

 

Just my 2 cents. I stumbled over this page and thought id say something.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm seeing different parts of a general idea I had some years ago but wasn't sure with whom to discuss it. On most vehicles there is a static discharge system to keep you from getting zapped,(Doesn't work so well on some). With Electric Vehicles,(EV's) that same static electricity can be beefed up and added to the battery bank. Adding this to solar panels,Tesla turbines, regenerative brakes and transmission should put us much closer to a long range, and eventually unlimited range EV. Through static electricity we could create a lot of juice for VERY little resistance.

If anyone has any input I would like to hear it. (Here's to electric vehicles and the death of the gas conspiracy).

hammur :rolleyes:

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The other thing is people saying static is not that 'strong' are kind of neglecting the fact they could run miles of something like that under a roadway or like say the tension wires of a bridge or anywhere were friction is created over and over.... that would build up.

 

Wouldn't that be very expensive?

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  • 3 weeks later...

So it is winter in Virginia, and my family and I are shocking the hell out of ourselves as we walk around the house. Last night I had a thought and actually tested it out. I built up a nice charge and walked over to a lamp with a CFL light bulb. I hovered my hand near the lightbulb and it faintly glowed. This was just from being in proximity to my hand. I then touched the actual tube of the light bulb and it lit up briefly. Anyone but a blind man could see (:shrug:) that there is plenty of energy at work. So my mad scientist mind started to work...

 

Is there a way to harness that static electricity in order to say power some rechargeable batteries? It would save me from some shocks and actually put that energy to good use at the same time.

 

Electrostatic generators use mechanical energy. An electric circuit, containing an electrostatic generator, is not different from a circuit containing a battery. But the maximum possible current is usually extremely small. The current can be used to heat a resistor. But the amount of thermal energy produced is always a negligible fraction of mechanical energy needed to operate the generator.

 

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  • 1 month later...

... Is there a way to harness that static electricity in order to say power some rechargeable batteries? It would save me from some shocks and actually put that energy to good use at the same time.

 

I am sure this can be done. But can this be done less expensively than by using an existing technology? I do not think so.

.

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So it is winter in Virginia, and my family and I are shocking the hell out of ourselves as we walk around the house. Last night I had a thought and actually tested it out. I built up a nice charge and walked over to a lamp with a CFL light bulb. I hovered my hand near the lightbulb and it faintly glowed. This was just from being in proximity to my hand. I then touched the actual tube of the light bulb and it lit up briefly. Anyone but a blind man could see (:shrug:) that there is plenty of energy at work. So my mad scientist mind started to work...

 

Is there a way to harness that static electricity in order to say power some rechargeable batteries? It would save me from some shocks and actually put that energy to good use at the same time.

A good way to approach a “is this possible?” question in physics is first estimate the energy of the systems in it. In this one, the systems are:

1) the static electricity generator of a person walking around a dry house then touching a conductor;

2) a rechargeable battery.

 

Ignoring complicating technical details, the question is, how much energy do these systems generate or store?

 

A static electricity spark from a human body has about 0.5 J ( source)

A very small battery, such as a SR516 button cell, stores about 100,000 J (3 V * 10 mAh) (source). A typical cellphone battery stores about 100 times that (source: the label on my cellphone battery).

 

So, assuming a perfectly efficient charging system, it would take 200,000 “shuffling and sparking” sessions to charge a very small rechargeable battery. At, say, 1 session every 15 seconds, this would equate to about 1 month to recharge a very small battery used in common electronic devices, and 9 years to recharge a cellphone battery.

 

So we can rule out the possibility of using “shuffling around the house” static electricity to charge cellphones, but not the possibility of using them to power very low-power device, such as wristwatches.

 

This makes me wonder why such a tiny amount of energy (0.5 J) seems like so much when it lights up a florescent bulb. The answer, I think, is that our eyes are amazingly sensitive light detectors, and florescent bulbs surprisingly good at converting very low energy inputs into light. There’s really not much energy there, by practical electric engineering standards, the bulb-human eye setup is just very good at detecting this low energy event.

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  • 7 months later...

Nitack,

 

Add the real numbers that CraigD mentioned to something I used while I was in High School. It was an old hand crank

generator. If you were to crank it real fast, it in a few seconds would give you a jolt maybe 2-3 times what normal static

was. Using the numbers that CraigD mentioned would then give about 1.5 J. Connect this to say an LED light which

is even more efficient than CFLs. Now if this cranking effect were to be driven by your feet instead, you could say

read by a light that you are generating. This would allow you to get some exercise while you read. :D

 

maddog

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