Van de Graaff generator

[ vanduh-graf jen-uh-rey-ter ]
/ ˈvæn də ˌgræf ˈdʒɛn əˌreɪ tər /
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noun Physics, Electricity.
a device for producing high-voltage static electricity.
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Origin of Van de Graaff generator

1935–40; named after R. J. Van de Graaff (1901–66), American physicist

Words nearby Van de Graaff generator

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for Van de Graaff generator

Van de Graaff generator
/ (ˈvæn də ˌɡrɑːf) /

a device for producing high electrostatic potentials (up to 15 million volts), consisting of a hollow metal sphere on which a charge is accumulated from a continuous moving belt of insulating material: used in particle accelerators

Word Origin for Van de Graaff generator

C20: named after R. J. Van de Graaff (1901–67), US physicist
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for Van de Graaff generator

Van de Graaff generator

A type of electrostatic generator used to build up static electrical charge of very high voltages by transferring electric charge from a power supply to a spherical metal terminal. A high-voltage source transfers charge to a nonconducting conveyor belt, usually made of silk or rubber, which continuously redeposits the charge on the insulated metal terminal, where it accumulates. Even small Van de Graaff generators can accumulate a static charge of 100,000 volts; the largest, up to 10 million volts.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.