This is a device is a simple method for generating a high voltage charge or static electricity. It works by dripping water through an arrangement of metal containers and loops of wire.
Water, like many molecules is in the form of a dipole. This means that it has a difference in electric charge from one end to the other. The chemical formula for water is H2O, meaning there are two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom in each molecule.
You can see from the image on the right the way that the H2+ is more on one side therefore making an uneven distribution of charge i.e. a dipole. This is what gives water all its interesting properties such as its powerful solvent abilities and its ability to stick to other materials.
This experiment works best with pure or deionised water as it is a very good electrical insulator. Tap water contains dissolved ions which become mobile allowing the water to conduct electricity.
The top containers can be made from plastic but it may work better if they are made from metal and connected to ground.