School of Physics Lecture Demonstration Manual

El-9 Electrostatic Voltmeter

Published: Tuesday 14 March 2006 - Updated: Thursday 31 March 2011


To demonstrate the electrostatic voltmeter and to show the energy stored in a capacitor.



Click on pictures to enlarge.

Electrostatic Voltmeter Diagram


The elctrostatic voltmeter is connected to the Van de Graaff generator; one plate to earth and the other to the dome using the shorting stick. The voltmeter works on the principle of charged plate attraction. The voltmeter is seen to rapidly reach full scale whereupon the capacitor discharges. It is possible to separate the plates to various distances and repeat the experiment.

Safety notes

Electrical safety 


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