It’s Electric at Fleet Science Center offering hands-on learning for the whole family in 16 interactive stations. In addition to individual experimentation, guests have the opportunity to view live Tesla coil demonstrations. With its lightning-like discharges and sizzling noise, visitors will get to see a Tesla coil in action as it takes an already existing electric current and amplifies the voltage-by approximately 100,000 volts-and discharges it on the aluminum torus at the top of the secondary coil, showing colorful brush discharges. Tesla coil demonstrations last approximately 15 minutes and are performed at the Fleet daily.
The exhibits of It’s Electric are designed to engage visitors in the many fascinating facets of electricity, including:
Basic Batteries. Visitors will have a chance to become a “battery” by placing their hands on two of the four metal plates. They then become the electrolyte connecting the two electrodes, causing movement in a meter.
The Plasma Tube. In this station, visitors will create lightning in a tube! A tube is filled with a mixture of gases that react with electricity from the central electrode to produce “plasma lightning.” Visitors will watch in awe as the lightning spirals outward in tendrils of purple, pink and blue.
The Jumping Ring. Watch a ring jump back and forth along a tall arch! With the help of a button, visitors create alternating currents in coils to produce an alternating magnetic field. The magnetic field of the coil and ring are in opposite directions, pushing the ring away from the coil on which it is resting.
The Solenoid. This station shows a type of electromagnet whose purpose is to generate a controlled magnetic field. By pushing a button, visitors create a magnetic field, which then moves a magnetic rod through a copper spool. This pools enough energy to create a magnetic field strong enough to hold the heavy rod up.
Make the Lights Turn On. When electricity in a coil creates a changing magnetic field it creates electricity in a second coil. Visitors experience this first-hand by lifting a coil until the lights above turn on. Once the coil is lifted, electricity is being transferred to the bottom or secondary coil.
As visitors go through the stations, they can safely examine concepts including static electricity, live current, attraction and repulsion, sparks, voltage, AC/DC, telegraphs, and transmitters.