Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bonneville Power Authority Labs

Here are some pictures from our tour of the Bonneville Power Authority Ross Laboratory in Vancouver.  This is actually the coolest field trip in the entire universe.  They offer them twice a year, fall and spring, and they are free. I bet they asked their most awesome electrical engineers to design the best demos ever, and set them free. They have some amazing machines that test the strength and endurance of all their power transmitting equipment, in order to insure everything they use is free of defects. Kids weighed themselves on a giant scale, tried hoisting things with block and tackles arranged in different ways, checked out a thermal imaging camera, watched high voltage melt metal wire,  saw spectacular corona, watched a rope subjected to a strength test, watched cans crush under pressure tests, tried generating electricity themselves to light different kinds of bulbs, got a lesson in the history of electrical science complete with demonstrations of cool gadgets like a Tesla coil, a Jacob's ladder and a Kelvin water dropper, played a giant piano by connecting a circuit with their bodies, and watched several machines make lightning. Everyone was really sweet and made us feel like they were rolling out the red carpet for us.  Before we left, they gave the kids boxes of Nerds to remind them that nerds are cool!

Do you see the number 8 on the clipboard?  A boy had drawn it there with his finger, and the heat that lingered was still visible on their thermal imaging camera.   
The kids on camera.
Melting a wire with high voltage.
Breaking a really strong rope with massive force.
Using massive pressure to crush a can.
A corona demonstration.
A Tesla coil demonstration.
Playing a giant piano.
This guy was struck by lightning.

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