This month's newsletter is about static electricity. Some people will tell you that static electricity is useless as a form of power, but there are others that would disagree. I'm sure everybody has experienced the shock
of static electricity when you drag your feet across a carpet and then touch someone else or a metal object. You have probably even seen a Van de Graff generator in operation producing sparks from it's electrified globe. But...
have you ever seen Kelvin's Thunderstorm? No? Then check out this shocking video...
How does this thing work?... basically, the principle behind Kelvin's Thunderstorm is "like charges repel". The bottomless cans
at the top are charged positive and negative. The positive can repels the positively charged ions in the water. So what drops through the can is mainly negatively charged ions. These ion charges build up in the buckets which are
linked to the bottomless cans in a sort of feedback loop. The charges build up until a spark jumps the spark gap. Pretty cool huh?
So.. Do you still think static electricity contains no power? You know, a lightning bolt is supposed to be static electricity, and not many of you would say there is no power in a lightning bolt. I forgot where I read it, but
Tesla noticed a strange surge in power when he closed some of his switches. Somehow the spark that jumped from the closing switch contained some "extra" energy. He said it was one of his most important discoveries. I think it had
something to do with ball lightning. Another example is the people in the Swiss village of Methernitha who have a working electricity generator that supposedly runs on static electricity. It's called Testakica.
While I was researching Kelvin's Thunderstorm, I ran across some very interesting information on Edwin Gray. He had an ingenious motor/generator back in the 70's that, from what I can tell, runs on static electricity or charged capacitors.
I know this is not new information, but it just goes to show you that work can be performed from static electricity. Here's some pdf files containing all of his information - maybe someone smarter than me can put some of this information together and develop a "highly efficient" motor right now when we need it the most...