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This project takes on building a Tesla Coil from scratch and using it as a tool to engage and inform students about the principles of electricity and magnetism. 


Nikola Tesla was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, futurist and possibly one of the very first “Mad Scientists”. He spoke 8 languages, had an eidetic memory and extreme obsessive compulsive disorder. Tesla spent his life pursuing his ideas of transmission by radio waves, wireless lighting and electrical distribution; one of which was his Tesla Coil. In some of his coil experiments he produced electrical discharges of 135ft in length, which lit any lightbulbs within 100ft and was heard from 15 miles away.  


The Tesla Coil is an electrical resonant transformer circuit invented by Tesla in 1891. It takes the output from a transformer and turns it into an extremely high voltage, which then charges a capacitor until fully charged, the capacitor sets the current free to flow through a spark gap. The gap is effectively a ‘switch’ that turns the current ‘on and off’ and allows the current to flow into the primary copper coil. A magnetic field forms, collapses, and discharges back to the capacitor. Every time this happens, a bit of current goes into the secondary coil where at the end is another spherical capacitor that discharges into the surroundings, allowing us to see an electric show.


These coils create very high electric fields which can wirelessly light any light bulbs in close proximity. The field that is being emitted from the tesla coil causes the electrons to move inside the bulb. This is the same way the lights in your house work, except in your house, the electricity comes through a wire instead of through the air. The coil has also been used as spark radio transmitters. The magnetic field created and the role of currents and electricity in this experiment will be explained and investigated in the BUILD YOUR OWN section. 

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