Tesla Electromagnetic Pyramid & Generator
The Tesla Electromagnetic Pyramid & An Electrical Generator Called Earth
In the summer of 1889, Tesla traveled to the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris and learned of Heinrich Hertz’s 1886–1888 experiments that proved the existence of electromagnetic radiation, including radio waves. Tesla found this new discovery “refreshing” and decided to explore it more fully.
In repeating and then expanding on these experiments Tesla tried powering a Ruhmkorff coil with a high speed alternator he had been developing as part of an improved arc lighting system but found that the high-frequency current overheated the iron core and melted the insulation between the primary and secondary windings in the coil.
To fix this problem Tesla came up with his “oscillating transformer”, with an air gap instead of insulating material between the primary and secondary windings and an iron core that could be moved to different positions in or out of the coil.
Later called the Tesla coil, it would be used to produce high-voltage, low-current, high frequency alternating-current electricity. He would use this resonant transformer circuit in his later wireless power work.
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Enter The Tesla Coil
A Tesla coil is an electrical resonant transformer circuit designed by inventor Nikola Tesla in 1891. It is used to produce high-voltage, low-current, high-frequency alternating-current electricity. Tesla experimented with a number of different configurations consisting of two, or sometimes three, coupled resonant electric circuits.
Tesla used these circuits to conduct innovative experiments in electrical lighting, phosphorescence, X-ray generation, high-frequency alternating current phenomena, electrotherapy, and the transmission of electrical energy without wires. Tesla coil circuits were used commercially in spark-gap radio transmitters for wireless telegraphy until the 1920s, and in medical equipment such as electrotherapy and violet ray devices. Today, their main usage is for entertainment and educational displays, although small coils are still used as leak detectors for high-vacuum systems.
Originally, Tesla coils used fixed spark gaps or rotary spark gaps to provide intermittent excitation of the resonant circuit; more recently, electronic devices are used to provide the switching action required.
The Resonant Transformer
The specialized transformer used in the Tesla coil circuit, called a resonant transformer, oscillation transformer, or radio-frequency (RF) transformer, functions differently from ordinary transformers used in AC power circuits. While an ordinary transformer is designed to transfer energy efficiently from primary to secondary winding, the resonant transformer is also designed to temporarily store electrical energy.
Each winding has a capacitance across it and functions as an LC circuit (resonant circuit, tuned circuit), storing oscillating electrical energy, analogously to the way a tuning fork stores vibrational mechanical energy. The primary coil (L1) consisting of a relatively few turns of heavy copper wire or tubing, is connected to a capacitor (C1) through the spark gap (SG).
The secondary coil (L2) consists of many turns (hundreds to thousands) of fine wire on a hollow cylindrical form inside the primary. The secondary is not connected to an actual capacitor, but it also functions as an LC circuit, the inductance of (L2) resonates with stray capacitance (C2), the sum of the stray parasitic capacitance between the windings of the coil, and the capacitance of the toroidal metal electrode attached to the high-voltage terminal.
The primary and secondary circuits are tuned so that they have the same resonant frequency, so they exchange energy, acting like a coupled oscillator; during each spark the stored energy rapidly oscillates back and forth between the primary and secondary.
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