Definition of van de Graaff generator in US English:

van de Graaff generator


  • A machine devised to produce a high voltage by means of an endless belt collecting electrostatic charge from a source and transferring it to a large isolated metal dome, on which a large charge accumulates.

    • ‘The massive piece of equipment is, in principle, just a souped-up version of the van de Graaff generators you probably remember from high school physics class.’
    • ‘A range of accessories are available for our van de Graaff generators, or perhaps you fancy your hand at building one yourself?’
    • ‘When connected to the van de Graaff generator, the material inside it will bounce around rapidly’


1930s: named after Robert Jemison van de Graaff (1901–67), American physicist.


van de Graaff generator

/ˌvan də ˌɡraf ˈjenəˌrādər/