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Touted as one of the best inventors ever, Nikola Tesla created many world-changing things that were ahead of their time. This includes Tesla coils too.

Tesla coils were the first system ever built to transmit electricity wirelessly. It was revolutionary and works by using two coils and a power source like a battery to transmit electricity. One coil powers the other coil, and this allows the current to move through both to create a frequency.

The Tesla coil is still renowned as one of the most amazing inventions in history, and over 100 years later it is still relevant in our society. The way these coils operated was something the world had never seen before, putting on display the type of expertise Nikola Tesla truly had. This guide explains more about exactly how the Tesla coil works.

While it is not easy to get our hands on an original Tesla coil, we still have the experts who can compile all of the necessary information about them. You will learn about how a Tesla coil works, what a Tesla coil is, and whether they are still relevant in our society today as you keep reading.

Table of Contents

How Do Tesla Coils Work?

There is a primary principle to consider when discussing a Tesla coil and it is accomplished simply too. The principle is that the electrical current produced is the flow of electrons and it occurs in two places to create the current.

It is made possible because of electromagnetic induction, which is when the magnetic field can create a current into an electrical flow to fill the area around the coils to create an electrical frequency.

There are a few critical steps that occur so that a Tesla coil can work and create the electrical current you are chasing.

1. A Power Source Is Connected To The Primary Coil

To get started, the coils must be hooked up to some type of power source like a battery. This is necessary or else there will be no direct way to power the coil and create any type of electricity or electrical current flows.

The design of the coil is so that this primary coil is strong enough to withstand a lot of electricity and a big charge. Once you have the power source hooked up, it takes a bit of time to power up to get started.

2. The Capacitor and Primary Coil Begin Conduction Electricity

When the power is connected, the capacitor in the primary coil will start to absorb the charge that is being created. It works in a way to hold in as much of the charge as it can to gain the maximum amount of power it is capable of holding.

Copper is a primary ingredient in the design of the primary coil because it is one of the best conductors of electricity and it helps keep Tesla coils safe. The capacitor will build up to an extreme level where the charge must break down further.

Sparks will be produced as it continues to build up until it reaches the breaking point. The reason it must break down is that as sparks are created, there is a presence of air resistance between them.

This causes the spark gap to create too much power for the single primary capacitor and coil to handle, meaning it needs more help to handle the charge.

3. The Current Creates a Magnetic Field

Once this level is reached, the current breaks down from the primary coil into something more extensive. This is known as a magnetic field that forms around the primary coil and it can be seen as like an electrical bubble around the coil.

The magnetic field requires tons of energy and electrical flow to be made possible. The most notable thing about this field is that it is completely safe, despite looking like something that would electrocute anybody within a few feet of it.

Electromagnets make this magnetic field formation possible too. The combination of a copper wire and an electrical current will form this field.  

4. This Energy Creates An Electric Current In The Second Coil

Once the magnetic field reaches a more powerful level, the single-coil cannot hold it any longer and this forces it to break down more and reach the secondary coil. The electrical current will then be flowing between both of the coils at this time.

When this happens, the air between the two coils contains voltages that are continuously flowing back and forth. This also creates sparks and spark gaps, causing the secondary coil and capacitor to become more powerful.

Similar to the build-up in the first coil, the secondary coil can only hold so much power as well. It continues to build and grow until it reaches the breaking point.  

5. The Charge Breaks Free To Conduct Electricity

Once the charge reaches too much in the secondary coil, it must break free to create a burst of electrical current. This burst turns into a voltage that creates and maintains high-frequency electrical waves.

The amazing part about these electrical waves being released by the coils is that they are completely wireless, yet they could power or illuminate a fluorescent lightbulb with a single touch.

After this process occurs, it then starts all over again. The machine can become self-sustaining after completing this cycle one time and this allows the Tesla coil to sustain resonance.

What Is A Tesla Coil?

A Tesla Coil is an electrical resonant transformer circuit. It was originally designed by the famous inventor Nikola Tesla in 1899 as a way to produce high electrical currents at low voltages.

It is extremely difficult to define or categorize a Tesla coil because it is such a unique invention by one of the great minds in history. It is often referred to as a frequency oscillator or just a massive transformer that gives off an electrical current.

A Tesla coil uses two separate coils to operate and one coil powers the other to create lots of power. But because this is more an electrical current than actual electricity, a human being would be able to touch the current without being electrocuted.

You can compare this to touching two wires together and feeling a shock on your hand. The Tesla coil is not like this, and you would simply be touching a low-amp electrical current instead which is completely safe.

Are Tesla Coils Dangerous?

A Tesla coil can be dangerous if you are not aware of what it is capable of and do not practice common precautions around one. However, the true danger is only determined by the number of voltages it is currently set at.

The primary coil is the most powerful part of the machine, receiving the most voltages that could turn out to be dangerous to the human body. The secondary coil would be less powerful, but it should still be avoided to some extent as a precaution.

The primary coil should never be touched under any circumstances. However, the secondary coil can be used by someone with a distance between them and the machine using metal rods as conductors to manipulate the current.

Tesla coils also present a danger to electronics around the area. It has powerful electromagnetic radiation that can destroy any local electronics like phones around it.

What Are Tesla Coils Used For Today?

The size of Tesla coils today has been decreased dramatically, but the technology is still widely used in radios, televisions, and other similar technology that requires a wireless flow of current to operate effectively.

They are also used in some of the most critical industries in the world like oil, pharmaceutical, and construction for various use cases. It just goes to show how advanced this technology truly was in 1891 when it is still used over 100 years later.

How Do Tesla Coils Work?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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