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Rainpowered Giant Public Kelvin Thunderstorm

Just because.
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This is a very simple idea. Kelvin's Thunderstorm is an electrostatic device that creates huge charges from two dripping streams of water. The charge can be discharged periodically to produce impressive sparks.

I'd like to install a super-size Kelvin's Thunderstorm outside, and have it powered solely by falling rain. In the middle of a decent downpour, a huge spark would crrracck across the spark- gap (safely located out of reach) every few minutes.

No maintenance, no running costs, just big sparks on a rainy day.

That's it, really. Oh yes. It might need a sort of canopy over it, with holes in to ensure that rain only fell through bits of the apparatus it was meant to. And it would look nice made out of bronze, and on a granite plinth. I'm not keen on sandstone.

MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 25 2007

Prior Art Rain_20Power
big sparks on a rainy day = lightening? [csea, Dec 08 2007]

at last, at least? http://www.designbo...hout-moving-blades/
[4whom, Apr 06 2013]

http://en.wikipedia...elvin_water_dropper [spidermother, Apr 07 2013]

[link]






       // granite plinth //   

       What colour granite ?   

       [+]
8th of 7, Dec 08 2007
  

       Blue-flecked. Actually, on second thoughts, grey and unobtrusive.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 08 2007
  

       Polished bronze and pink granite looks quite good, if a tad gay ...
8th of 7, Dec 08 2007
  

       Would the drips scale up ?   

       Doesn't the principle would work better if scaled down , that is individually use each water molecule ?
wjt, Dec 08 2007
  

       //Doesn't the principle would work better if scaled down , that is individually use each water molecule ?// I don't think so, no.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 08 2007
  

       Are you sure ? Nature didn't evolve one big cell - surface area to volume and all that . I suppose because the effect is quantum the understanding will be counter intuitive .
wjt, Dec 08 2007
  

       //Are you sure ?// Yes. First of all, a lone water molecule is not going to fall nicely through the annuli. Second, I don't think you're going to be able to pull an electron off a lone water molecule with the forces available; pulling an electron or two off a large droplet is much easier, because the charge is somewhat dispersed. There will be an optimum drop size, but it will be a lot bigger than a single molecule.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 09 2007
  

       Sorry I thought the principle was to disturb the quantum medium so any 'free' electrons could be induced into work .
wjt, Dec 10 2007
  

       Err, no. I believe that the behaviour of the Kelvin Thunderstorm can be adequately approximated using classical physics.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 11 2007
  

       It won't work as described; the two streams of drops need to originate from a common container (link).
spidermother, Apr 07 2013
  

       //It won't work as described// won't work as described where? I don't see any part of the description that calls for two containers. If in doubt, read the idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 07 2013
  

       //have it powered solely by falling rain// and // It might need a sort of canopy over it, with holes in to ensure that rain only fell through bits of the apparatus it was meant to//   

       I assumed from that that raindrops would fall uninterrupted from the sky until they passed through, which won't work. I didn't say that your idea implied two containers (in the sense I intended, you describe a plurality of containers - one for each raindrop). Instead, the two streams of drops must originate from a common source - e.g. a single container (or two electrically connected containers).   

       I think your idea could be made to work if the raindrops made brief electrical contact with, e.g., a charged mesh before falling further into the collection vessel(s). That configuration is equivalent to the device in [4whom]'s link, but powered by gravity and kinetic energy rather than wind.
spidermother, Apr 08 2013
  

       Indeed so. The rainwater can be collected into a reservoir in the top, thence to drip through two orifices.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 08 2013
  

       Yes, that would work too.
spidermother, Apr 08 2013
  

       Lord Kelvin will be delighted to hear it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 08 2013
  
      
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