# DIY Lightning Experiment! Make a SHOCKING Capacitor | Summary and Q&A

168.4K views
January 25, 2017
by
Physics Girl
DIY Lightning Experiment! Make a SHOCKING Capacitor

## TL;DR

Learn how to create a homemade 200,000 volt capacitor and generate sparks using a DIY contraption.

## Key Insights

• 🥞 Homemade capacitors can be created using simple materials like a cake pan, metal sheet, PVC pipe, and dielectric material.
• 🈂️ Charging a capacitor involves dumping charge onto one plate, causing the charges to spread out and repel each other.
• 🍽️ A dielectric material helps hold more charges on the plates and prevents the flow of charges between the plates.
• 💖 By discharging the capacitor, sparks are produced as charges leap through the air.
• 🈂️ Creating a homemade capacitor requires trial and error to find the optimal configuration and charge buildup.
• 🈂️ Insulators, like PVC pipe, prevent charges from evenly distributing, requiring full contact with the metal surface for effective charge transfer.
• ❓ Experimentation and learning through trial and error is an essential part of DIY capacitor creation.

## Transcript

Do you want to touch it after I charge it up? Yeah. Really? Yeah! You'd just do it? Yeah! OK. Go for it. Go, go, go-- before it leaks off! Hi. I'm Diana. You're watching Physics Girl, and we're going to show you how to make a 200,000 volt capacitor. The one that she made me burn my finger on. It didn't burn your finger. No, it didn't bur... Read More

The capacitor is created by connecting two metal plates, a bottom cake pan, and a top metal sheet with a dielectric material in between. The materials are taped together to form the capacitor.

### Q: How is the capacitor charged?

The capacitor is charged by rubbing a paper towel wrapped around a long PVC pipe. The charge is dumped onto the top metal plate (bowl), causing it to spread out onto the sheet metal and create a high voltage.

### Q: What is the purpose of the dielectric material?

The dielectric material, like polycarbonate or Teflon, separates the metal plates and prevents the flow of charges. It gets polarized by the electric field and helps hold more charges on the plates.

### Q: How are sparks created with the capacitor?

By discharging the charged capacitor with a wand, sparks are generated. The charges leap through the air and create a visible spark.

## Summary & Key Takeaways

• Physics Girl shows how to make a 200,000 volt capacitor using homemade materials.

• The capacitor consists of two metal plates separated by a dielectric material and can store and release electrical charge.

• By charging the capacitor and discharging it with a wand, sparks are created.