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Re: [TCML] Science Fair Project

I don't believe Tesla coils are appropriate for a science fair.
The risks to the public, other school children and the child doing them are significant. It is unlikely that they will have accumulated a body of safety knowledge that experienced coilers take for granted. They will often have no knowledge of the public liability implications or the risks of public performance. I suspect that many science teachers will also have little experience with these either.

My background: I topped the state science fair with "Factors affecting the length of a spark" and repeated this the following year with "Spark spectroscopy" . These were done with low power <30W ignition coil systems capable of giving a shock but unlikely to be anywhere near the range of a 300W NST system . These projects were "safe" and had a sound hypothesis, method, data collection, results and conclusions (as well as the sparks being media friendly).

Just making a Tesla coil is engineering, not science and while technically challenging, the chaotic nature of sparks from a TC does not lend itself to good scientific method and experimental accuracy.

Of course, this may be different with a Tesla coil savvy parent or teacher but neither alone will make both home and school safe places. I understand that the internet allows much faster acquisition of knowledge to achieve these goals but there need to be some checks and balances for safety.

Also, I have never run a Tesla coil indoors without a Faraday cage (apart from my micro-powered and safe to touch briefcase coil). In general, I can't do school performances due to the public liability issues. And I am far more experienced in the various issues involved than a student would be.


-----Original Message----- From: Jim Lux
Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2012 3:53 AM

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