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Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Kites have also contributed to the pioneering efforts in the scientific field of electricity. Most people have heard of Benjamin Franklin's kite experiment. The story has entered into American legend. He flew the kite during the early stages of an electric storm, when he felt that electric power was building in the clouds, but before actual lightning was produced. being produced.
He designed a kite specifically to draw electricity from the clouds which was made from silk instead of paper so it would withstand the rain without tearing. The kite had a pointed wire arising from the frame, which gathered electricity from the overhead storm clouds. As the storm wettened the kite and silk string, they were able to conduct the electricity to a key he hung near the ground. He stood inside a building so the end of silk he held did not get wet, and thus conduct the charge to him. The key became electrified, and sparked with electricity. He used the electricity to charge a Leyden Jar, which is a capacitor, which had been recently invented.
Franklin conducted many experiments with electricity during his lifetime, and made many contributions to the budding science. The kite helped him form some theories about it and learn something of its nature.
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