ADAM HART-DAVIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ADAM HART-DAVIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Electrical discharge. View of an electrical discharge created by a Van de Graaff generator. A Van de Graaff generator is a device for producing extremely high voltages. It consists of a fabric belt which collects charge from an external source and conveys it to a hollow metal sphere. As the charge cannot leave the external surface of the sphere, it continuously builds up, reaching potentials of millions of volts. When a conducting surface is placed near the sphere, there is a discharge in the form of a spark. This is analogous to a lightning strike between a cloud and the ground.
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