Zamboni dry pile.

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I just read about the Oxford bell experiment which is an implementation of an electrostatically driven pendulum powered by a pair of high voltage dry piles which has been operating continuously since 1840...
And I WANT one! : )
The most difficult task will be building the piles which may contain as many as 2000 individual cells. I would like to source the cell materials as finished as possible to avoid work. I need disks of aluminum foil backed paper like what they use to wrap chocolate. I'll settle for disks of paper only but using scissors to cut out that many would be arduous!
Do any of you know where to find that stuff?

Oxford Bell
If it were me, my first stop would be the (small) company that makes our adhesive labels... the kind that come on a roll. The cutting dyes and set-up fees can be less than you might think. Foil on paper is an available stock.

Of course, we always buy adhesive labels with adhesive on them... ;)

Just a thought.

I have found a source for foil backed candy paper;

I'll have to see if there is a plastic coating (doubt it), or whether the adhesive used to bond the foil is permeable.
The sheets are cheap though!

Also, small hand held paper die cutter might work:
Hopefully I wont wear it out too quickly...

And I want to use graphite for the second electrode; probably buy some electric motor stators and rub down the back of the paper before I punch.

Even though PVC pipe is cliche I think it will do the job. Or I might paint epoxy on the outside of the pile.

So it is the small amount of impurities found in the paper and atmospheric humidity which allows this pile to function? will graphite and aluminum work? I think I did read that on some website but I have not been able to find it again. I found some mention of manganese dioxide but overall the design is not perfectly clear to me. Do any of you have a better idea?

Is there any way to tell whether the paper in the foil paper will be suitable?

Oh here is a great example;
Question of paper To Use?

I collect antique books! Well, the best way to make sure you use the right paper for cutting (and it not be acidic and rot over time) is buy an old cheap book printed in 1800. The paper is pure RAG paper with no modern chemicals. That is why they are still extant, while modern books are turning brown and rotting - decaying. And then do your cutting punching..... lolol I don't think the INK will make much difference?
Question as to what laterials to use? Copper or Silver?

I know from BOATS that salt water and Zinc boat devices... the zinc deteriates fast over months years. Salt and zinc seem to be bad? OK, so zinc without salt watered paper discs. We stay as dry and clean as possible but for the humidity in the air while making the device. Toos up as to use copper or silver? Copper also corrodeds faster than silver and turns green. I THINK the 150 year device uses SILVER and ZINC and NOT salted paper discs. Just pure distilled air humidity. IT would be interesting to find out the climate that Mr. Zamboni lived in - maybe a less salty air than what I live in. I live on the coast where the air is a bit more salty than inland folk. As to the cyclindars used, we have a Zamboni in the museum that is sealed in brass? cylindars?... heavens, my spelling.? They can be easily tapped and screwed and RETROS made ... we are in process of doing this to sell them.
Question of Elementts and Order of...

I have read many OLD book quotes and even Zamboni's letters, and I am a bit pressed to understand the order. I would LIKE to get it RIGHT before I screw up the project.
Wikipedia has: Voltaic Pile as: ( no mention of manganese oxide)
2. paper
3. Copper (or, silver Foil as replacement)
[Zinc and Copper make contact = electromotive couple?]
1. Zinc
2. paper
3. Copper, etc
No mention of manganese Oxide. What of the Zamboni Pile elements and Order?
Other articles have given me an assortment of designs of Zamboni's pile:
CODES: S= silver foil; Z= zinc foil; M= Manganese; P= paper
If we replace the Copper with Silver: Other papers or writers say, the Copper was replaced with Manganese and the Silver kept.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
S S S S S - seems NOTHING goes between the S & Z
P M P/M P M - M goes on surface of Zinc?
M P S P S - or M goes on surface of Silver?

In one description a commentator says the manganese is painted on the zinc surface. This over lays the silver foil. So we have S,Z,M,S,Z,M,S,Z,M..
Seems he leaves out the paper.
Others say: The paper is coated under with Manganese and on top with zinc foil, and then the silver; Thus: M,P,Z,S,M,P,Z,S or S,Z,P,M,S,Z,P,M.
One says that the Manganese oxide is a voltaic partner with the zinc.
THUS: M,P,S,Z,M,P,S,Z or, S,Z,M,P,S,Z,M,P
So, to me the manganese is painted w/ honey on the ZINC. but does NOT touch the silver, but is separated from the silver with paper. So one can either paint the paper or the zinc with manganese, as long as the manganese does not touch the silver.
The Silver and Zinc always directly touch?... As does the Copper version?

Any comments.

Where does the manganese go?
And, can the paper be replaced with a thicker coat of manganese on the zinc?
Zamboni HOWTO build - help needed and given


I am very interested in discussing Zamboni battery technology with you.

I have been researching how to build a Zamboni type battery for about 3 months. I have also built test batteries of up to 100 cells. Very interesting so far. A lot gets lost in 200 years so I am left with finding out what "silver paper" is and what "flour of milk" is. Zamboni also used several different compositions in his piles.

Progress so far:
1) Materials selection
2) Process selection
3) Cell and pile voltage measurement technique
4) Making special tools
5) Pile design and materials

Would like to hear your progress as well,

Have a great day
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