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5C10.u1 - Potential voltage rise in a parallel plate capacitor

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​5C10.u1 - Potential voltage rise in a parallel plate capacitor

Title5C10.u1 - Potential voltage rise in a parallel plate capacitor

To demonstrate the Electric Field energy stored on a parallel plate capacitor. As the plates separate, the voltage increases until there is a discharge arc across two probes.

Assembly Instructions

Use leads to connect the parallel plate capacitor in parallel with the probe set-up. Use alligator clips attached to the tassles on the probes to connect. Connect one end of the system to a ground plate that is grounded to the wall. Make sure the probes are separated by about a centimeter or less and the parallel plate is separated by about 5mm. Use the piezo-charger to add positive charge to the positive end of the capacitor. Remember that the ground plate is grounding for you so there is no need to use yourself as a ground. Add positive charge until you hear or see the probes discharge and count how many times you added charge. After the discharge add charge again one fewer time than you did previously. At this point, separate the plate until the probes discharge. The discharge is best shown with a camera.

Setup Time20
Operation Time
Preview Time5
Operation Instructions

The voltage is proportional to the separation of the plates. When a finite amount of charge is put on plates, and then the plates are separated, it increases the voltage of the system. As that voltage increases, it approaches the level needed for an arc across the probes in parralel with the capacitor. Since the limit for an arc is constrained by voltage, this shows that the voltage across the plate increased due to separation.

Demo on DimeNo
PIRA 200Yes
Export Instructions (if different)
Category5 Electricity and Magnetism
Subcategory5C - Capacitance
Keywordspotential, voltage, rise, parallel plate capacitor, probes
Construction Information
capacitor - large parallel plate
grounding plate with grounding plug
piezo charger
probe set-up
banana cable
felt strips - grey
camera - b&w
banana plug multi adapters