Definition of van de Graaff generator in English:

van de Graaff generator

Pronunciation /ˌvan də ˌɡraf ˈjenəˌrādər/ /ˌvæn də ˌɡræf ˈdʒɛnəˌreɪdər/


  • 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.

    ‘When connected to the van de Graaff generator, the material inside it will bounce around rapidly’
    • ‘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?’


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