We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Electrostatic Motor?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An electrostatic motor uses the attraction and repulsion of an electric charge to generate energy. This is also known as a capacitor motor and is a type of eclectic motor. The electrostatic motor is most commonly used in micro-mechanical systems to create a drive voltage of less than 100 volts.

The first electrostatic motors were developed by Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Gordon in the mid-1700s. The motor originally was used to power bells and other small devices. The motor is based on the use of moving plates that are charged to be either positive or negative. The forces that generate the power do not wear down the plates, resulting in a long-term, stable method of energy generation.

An electrostatic motor can be created from standard household items and is a great science fair project. The amount of energy generated is not very large, but it is steady, does not require any consumable materials and has no residual products. The level of output usually is less than 100 volts, and the motor can be quickly disassembled, if required.

The energy in an electrostatic motor is created through static electricity. To create the motor, simply charge two items: one positive and one negative. Make a simple fan by attaching blades to an upside-down cup and attaching the base of the cup to a stick to allow free movement. Move the positive and negative items close together over the fan and watch it move. This is an electrostatic motor in action.

The invention of dry cell batteries and flowing electricity quickly replaced the electrostatic motor as an option for consumers. The development of computer circuitry, however, has revitalized the use of this type of motor. These electronic boards are very sensitive to spikes in power. The electrostatic motor creates a steady, low level of energy that presents no risk to the circuitry.

People who work in electronics or electrical engineering typically are very familiar with the electrostatic motor, and they often have built this motor as a science project and can see how the concepts can be applied to other projects or challenges. For example, electrostatic painting uses a very similar concept, because the surface is negatively charged, and the paint positively charged. As the item moves through the paining machine, the paint is released and is naturally attracted to the surface. This creates a smooth, even application with minimal effort. At the end of the process, the charge is neutralized, allowing the material to pass to the next stage with no interruptions.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By nony — On Oct 21, 2011

@MrMoody - No, I think the Tesla coil is a different kind of electricity.

Science fairs typically have what’s called a Van der Graaf Generator. It’s basically a silver ball and a rotating crank. When you spin the crank it generates static electricity inside the ball.

Then you take a small probe and extend it near the big ball, and you can start seeing the static sparks fly and hearing the clicks of static electricity.

It’s a simple concept. You can get the same effect by rubbing your hands back and forth across the carpet, although that will give you the shock but not the sparks most of the time.

By MrMoody — On Oct 20, 2011

I don’t recall seeing these kinds of motors demonstrated at science fairs, although it’s been awhile so maybe I did and had just forgotten.

What does a typical electrostatic generator look like? Is it like a Tesla coil?

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.