The Van de Graaff generator can be used to demonstrate the accumulation and transfer of electric charge. A person touching the metal globe can be electrified so that their hair stands up, and often in experiments involving the Van de Graaffovim generator, we can also observe sparks being generated as the metal globe is discharged.
At the World of Energy, a spark on the Van de Graaff generator reaches a voltage of around 400,000 volts.
A Van de Graaff generator is an electrostatic generator which uses a moving belt to accumulate electric charge on a hollow metal globe on the top of an insulated column, creating very high electric potentials. It produces very high voltage direct current (DC) electricity at low current levels. It was invented by American physicist Robert J. Van de Graaff in 1929.
The Van de Graaff generator was developed as a particle accelerator for physics research; its high potential is used to accelerate subatomic particles to great speeds in an evacuated tube. It was the most powerful type of accelerator of the 1930s until the cyclotron was developed. Van de Graaff generators are still used as accelerators to generate energetic particle and X-ray beams for nuclear research and nuclear medicine.