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# Vortex de Graff

"FryCo is not responsible for any mischief caused by its toys and games."
 (+4) [vote for, against]

I want to build a toy but I don't really know if it will work.

A Van de Graff generator collects either negative or positively charged particles on its sphere.
From what I've been able to determine this spherical shape is optimal but not exactly necessary because a simple one can be made from a pop can.
I wonder if it would be possible to cut a hole at the top and spin the entire sphere as the belt is running.
I can't see this spin causing the Van de Graff machine to not function so the only effect would be to tornado the air within the sphere.

(here's where the physics might be a bit off the rails)

If this charged spinning partial sphere were also designed to launch vortex rings and held ferrous particles within a container located at the center of the membrane which release as the toroid is launched...

...then wouldn't these particles be attracted to the sides of the sphere but, since unable to resist the force of the vortex, instead drag the opposite of the spheres' charge out and into the air with them?

If this is the case, then these particles should be repelled from one another and remain as far apart from one another as the dimensions of the ring allow, yet still be forced to invert.

Tornados make lightening depending on their internal conditions related to the surrounding air.
If the air within the Van de Graff machine were heated before launching and extremely dry compared to the air it travels through would the rotation of these charged particles continue to increase their charge until finding a ground?
Would the shape I describe act as a sort of Leyden jar capacitor?

If so, would it be possible to collect this energy in such a way that the distance between launch and discharge pull more electricity from the air than it takes to power the machine?
Not a perpetual motion machine by any means, all of that static had to come from some where, but maybe we could tap into it.

 — 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Apr 17 2017

vortex twins last awhile at swimming pool https://www.youtube...watch?v=pnbJEg9r1o8
[beanangel, Apr 19 2017]

First spectroscopic analysis of ball lightening captured on film. http://www.dailymai...ball-lightning.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Apr 26 2017]

Wouldn't your infallible ability to visualize machines in operation provide a straightforward way of understanding what will happen here?
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 17 2017

 if I did not misunderstand completely, you want to make a van de graff generator, then have it fling lightning capable,electron-surplused, rotating, helicopter circles (X) off the top, and are wondering if the flying (X) will make sparks when they strike something?

I think that could be a thing.
 — beanangel, Apr 17 2017

 Well... I can't visualize electricity and I already know my ability to visualize widgets isn't infallible, just well developed, so... no.I'm totally shooting from the hip with this one.

 It's been theorized that there is a correlation between the vortices caused by the rapid cooling of air surrounding lightning strikes and ball lightning.If a vortex ring can store a charge and if the inversion itself generates that charge, then I picture a vortex ring that will eventually create a plasma until it touches something.

 While researching lightning I learned that positive bolts are far more rare and far more powerful than negative bolts. I also learned that sometimes ball lightning is harmless and sometimes it'll melt your concrete.

 This got me to wondering if the destructive ball lightning might hold a positive rather than negative charge and account for the difference in power.

 If the vortex rings amplify as they travel it would also eventually make for a EMP device which doesn't decrease in power at a square of the distance between target and launcher... but that's for another day.

I just want to make the garage version for now and see if I can get electricity to cross a room trapped in a doughnut.
 — 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Apr 17 2017

The belt touches the sphere. Isn't this the same as running the belt faster? or do the charges on the belt actually see a different charge environment on the moving sphere? Nice question.
 — wjt, Apr 18 2017

 I likes. And wind can move plasma! Many science museums have the Jacob's Ladder type apparatus with a brass handled interior fan. Hard working visitors can turn the fan and produce a downdraft capable of preventing the ascent of the arc.

I think the charged particles produced by the generator would not zap objects in their path but rather stick to them. I have experimental evidence for this with tiny Styrofoam beanbag fill.
 — bungston, Apr 18 2017

 "If the vortex rings amplify as they travel" You might really like the image of a double vortex soliton traveling through a swimming pool at the [link]

my perception is that the super skinny part of the O-v-O might be rotating at a heightened velocity. Not sure what that means from an electrical perspective though.
 — beanangel, Apr 19 2017

 //I think the charged particles produced by the generator would not zap objects in their path but rather stick to them//

 Debatable: I imagine a vdgg produces a much more powerful electrostatic charge than a clothes dryer. But, how much charge can a small object reasonably hold ?

[+]
 — FlyingToaster, Apr 20 2017

Interesting. Scientists in China have filmed ball lightening for the first time [link], and it appears that elements in the dirt play a role.
<later edit>
I wonder what the effect would be of leap-frogging votex rings having the same or dissimilar charge?
 — 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Apr 26 2017

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