Science Dictionary
Wimshurst machine   (wĭmz'hûrst')  Pronunciation Key 
An electrostatic generator used to generate static electricity at high voltages, consisting of mica or glass disks covered with metal sectors of plates that are rotated in opposite directions. The rotational energy is used to build up static charge across the plates, while each plate periodically makes electrical contact with another as it rotates, building up a voltage by induction. The Wimshurst machine is named after its inventor, British engineer James Wimshurst (1832-1903).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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