RE- caps, spark gap, and more
From: Robert Michaels[SMTP:robert.michaels-at-online.sme-dot-org]
Sent: Thursday, September 11, 1997 5:38 AM
Subject: RE- caps, spark gap, and more
TL>Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 1997 8:39 PM
TL>Subject: caps, spark gap, and more
TL>I remember when I made my capacitors that I put oil on the top part.
TL>Well, they haven't been preforming so hot lately and I decided to take
TL>one apart. The oil does not resemble oil any more. It looks like bacon
TL>grease after it has cooled to a solid although the oil is still liquid.
TL>It smells pretty bad too. What happened to it?
Impossible to answer specifically without knowing what oil
(manufacturer, brand) you were using. This should really
be reported to the manufacturer.
You were using transformer oil, right? If it
was Mazola (or Wesson) or some such your cause
is lost! The stresses, small discharges, and
ozone in/around capacitors do very strange things
to the chemistry of complex and reactive com-
pounds (such as salad oils!).
[ ... ]
TL>One last thing. I'm a senior in high school and last year, for the
TL>first time, a science fair sponsored by IBM was opened up to the
TL>highschool level. (I did research on chaos thoery and won first place
TL>in the math catagory :-) ). Anyway, I was hoping I could enter my coil
TL>in the competition. There's just one thing, and it seems to bother me.
TL>The judges that they have aren't the brightest people in the world and
TL>for most of them the first thing they'll ask is, "what practical
TL>purposes does this serve?" I've already been asked this by some people
TL>and it really frustrates me. Maybe because I don't have anything that I
Is it a =science= fair, or isn't it? Science, by definition,
specifically and explicitly does not have any practical purpose.
Science is the pure investigation of nature and natural phenom-
ena, of, by, and for themselves. It is the undiluted pursuit
of knowledge strictly for the sake of acquiring knowledge.
Maybe you and/or the sponsors of the competition are confusing
engineering with science? It is the business of =engineering=
to take the discoveries of science and make something practical
out of them.
If your entry in a =science= fair were to be the
=only= entry with no practical value, then yours
should be declared the winner, by default!! Any
entry having a practical value is an engineering
project, not a science project.
(Look up the definition of "science" in a standard
reference work and post an enlarged photocopy of
it on your Tesla coil).
A Scientist & an
Engineer (and quite
clear on the concept)
in -- Detroit, USA
P.S.: If you want an erudite peg on which to hang your
project see the =excellent= post by Richard Wayne
Wahl on electrostatics vs. electromagnetics.
Good work Mr. Wahl! I don't hand out compliments
any too often [ have you noticed? ], but you get
one from me on this. Dr. Tesla would have liked it.