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EVGator
19 November 2011, 1031
Well, after reading about Tesla Patent number 685,957, "APPARATUS FOR THE UTILIZATION OF RADIANT ENERGY", it got me thinking and I wanted to make my own version of this patent. I found it hard to believe that radiation coming from Space to Earth could be utilized before it actually went into the ground. So I made a panel out of aluminum foil and insulated it with a couple of layers of plastic wrap to insulate it as it states to do in the patent, and also set it about 20 feet high in the air. Next, I hammered a pole into the ground and connected a wire to that. Then the wire from the panel and the ground wire meet at a bread board where I have a couple of diodes and a couple of capacitors. I let it sit for a little while and then checked the capacitors, one had 2.5 volts built up in it, the other had 4 volts. Keep in mind that there is no circuit from my house or anywhere near this project that would induce current into my collecting circuit.

So my question is, if this were built on a large scale with enormous aluminum panels, and an extremely efficient circuit, how much power would I be able to harness? =O. Really gets ya thinking. I mean, that was about 6.5 volts that I collected.. with one extremely crappy aluminum foil panel...I'll try to get some video footage or pictures at least so that you guys don't think that I am crazy.

ZoomSmith
19 November 2011, 1118
How current is generated by these "collectors"?

EVGator
19 November 2011, 1140
To be honest, I am not entirely sure. As stated in the patent, the amount of current produced is proportional to the amount of surface area of the aluminum plates. My "plate" is only about 1' x 9"

Check this out.

http://www.teslauniverse.com/nikola-tesla-patents-685,957-utilization-of-radiant-energy

I am still trying to wrap my head around this entire thing. Just wondered if anyone else on here has ever experimented with it?

EVGator
19 November 2011, 1145
But even with some voltage, I would need amps to do anything with it correct?

Tony Coiro
21 November 2011, 0719
This looks like photoelectric or the Hertz effect. Basically, the faster a photon electric and magnetic field oscillate, the more energy and momentum it has. If it is of sufficient frequency, it will have enough energy that it will be able to totally ionize (remove an electron) an atom. If you do that, you can collect said electron onto something like a capacitor plate and build up a charge. The problem is there aren't enough really high energy photons to make any significant power, the reason we see in the spectrum of light we do is that is the most intense band of frequencies that make it to the ground. Also, making matters worse is as you build up charge, the voltage/electric field on the plates will make it harder for the liberated electrons to make it to the other plate, requiring even higher frequency (more energetic) light to hit the plate. You'll probably see the rise quickly in the beginning and then slowly taper to zero as time goes on.
1909

podolefsky
21 November 2011, 1251
Pretty cool that you got this to work.

It probably is the photoelectric effect (photons hitting a surface can remove electrons, if the photons have enough energy). The work function for aluminum is 4 eV (how much energy it takes to remove an electron from the surface). UV light is 3-13 eV, so it could remove electrons from the aluminum foil. Once the electrons are removed, then the upper part has a net positive charge, so you'll read a voltage difference across the capacitor.

The insulation is probably to trap the electrons and keep any more from going back into the aluminum surface.

..at least, that's my best guess.

You're probably using very small capacitors, which is why you can get a decent voltage. But you probably have a *tiny* amount of energy stored up.

What's the capacitance of your capacitors?

EVGator
21 November 2011, 2031
What you guys are saying about the photoelectric effect makes sense. From what I have read, a fine amount of tuning was done by Tesla in order to achieve decent results. The man is truly my hero after reading about everything that he accomplished. I wish he had been able to finish his Wardenclyffe Tower Project.

Anyways, the "positive" wire feeds into a diode, and then a 4.7 uf 50volt capacitor, then to ground. Then in reverse from ground, I have a 2200 25volt capacitor which is slightly bigger than the other, and on the other end of that is a diode, which ends at the positive rail. Added another panel as well.

So far I have gotten over 5.2 volts on the 4.7 uf cap, and 3.6 on the 2200 uf cap.
Haven't checked for amps yet though. I meant to do that tonight.

Even if this system isn't completely practical the way that I have set it up, I still enjoyed setting it up and just seeing the voltage generated. Oddly enough though, it seems that I have gotten the best results when it is cloudy and during night time..the opposite of what you would think.

Would it be possible in any way to step this voltage up in anyway with the use of transistors or even a transformer?

podolefsky
21 November 2011, 2111
Interesting. It might not be photoelectric, but just normal electrostatic fluctuations near the earth's surface, like what causes lightning. The diode acts as a one way valve so that charge builds up, but doesn't flow back the other way. That would explain why it happens more when it's cloudy (I think you tend to have more electrostatic changes with clouds). Not sure what explains it being stronger at night...

I calculated the total energy stored and it's about 0.014 Joule...or 0.000000004 kWh. If you can scrape together 32 billion of them, you can make one 40Ah lithium cell :)

EVGator
21 November 2011, 2226
"The insulated plate or conducting-body should present as large a surface as practicable to the rays or streams of matter, I having ascertained that the amount of energy conveyed to it per unit of time is under otherwise identical conditions proportionate to the area exposed, or nearly so." - Tesla. So...I am really wishing that I had one of those aluminum roofs right now haha, as I would love to experiment with it. I have also heard that the higher that you go in the atmosphere, the stronger results you can obtain. One guy on youtube said that he was going to try panels attached to balloons. Hope he has alot of wire.. And my grounding pole is only about a foot in the ground. I wonder if results are dependent also on how deep the grounding pole is? Interesting stuff.

And as for the 32 billion panels.. I'll get started on them right now ;).

I need 7.68E11 for 48volts..

EVGator
21 November 2011, 2318
I was more interested in this project for Charging Purposes. Even though this hasn't been done on a large scale, (from what I have seen) I guess Solar is obviously the better choice.

billmi
22 November 2011, 0550
I have also heard that the higher that you go in the atmosphere, the stronger results you can obtain. One guy on youtube said that he was going to try panels attached to balloons.

The higher you go, the greater possibility there is for a larger difference in electrical potential between the air and the ground as well. Ben Franklin used a kite to demonstrate that.