Van de Graaff Generator
Puffed Wheat Shower
Puffed wheat cereal makes a good demonstration of electrostatic repulsion. The charges which have been collected on the outside of the sphere can get further apart by transferring to the puffed wheat. Then they are repelled by the charge on the Van de Graaff and fly off. Our observations are that a few of them remain behind and do not lift off even after a minute or two of running the van de Graaff. We don't know why - they appear to be identical to those which do lift off. The plastic bowl is attached to the van de Graaff dome with masking tape so that it doesn't fly off.
Voltages in excess of 100,000 volts can be generated with a demonstration model Van de Graaff generator. Though startling, discharges from the Van de Graaff do not represent a serious shock hazard since the currents attainable are so small.
Experimenter: Ed Mikovsky