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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
I'd like to install a super-size Kelvin's
Thunderstorm outside, and have
powered solely by falling rain. In the
middle of a decent downpour, a huge
spark would crrracck across the spark-
(safely located out of reach) every few
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
big sparks on a rainy day = lightening? [csea, Dec 08 2007]
at last, at least?
[4whom, Apr 07 2013]
[spidermother, Apr 07 2013]
||Blue-flecked. Actually, on second
thoughts, grey and unobtrusive.
||Polished bronze and pink granite looks quite good, if a tad gay ...
||Would the drips scale up ?
||Doesn't the principle would work better if scaled down , that is individually use each water molecule ?
||//Doesn't the principle would work better
if scaled down , that is individually use
each water molecule ?// I don't think so,
||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 .
||//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.
||Sorry I thought the principle was to disturb the quantum medium so any 'free' electrons
could be induced into work .
||Err, no. I believe that the behaviour of the
Kelvin Thunderstorm can be adequately
approximated using classical physics.
||It won't work as described; the two streams of drops need to originate from a common container (link).
||//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.
||//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.
||Indeed so. The rainwater can be collected into a
reservoir in the top, thence to drip through two
||Yes, that would work too.
||Lord Kelvin will be delighted to hear it.