UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
I am doing a science fair project on ocean wave power and I would like to know: What are some of the things you can do to wires, motors, in order to be able to run electricity through them, so that I can put them in water without them getting damaged in any way. Please help me.
Thank you very much for any advice you can give me.
Answer 1:

Wires simply need to be covered in an insulator. Motors and generators need to be kept in a sealed, watertight box. Electrical connections are relatively easy; just fill the connector with Shoe Goo or something similar to keep the water out. Special seals are needed for the axle of the motor. They are often made of rubber or something similar, and are sealed and lubricated with a little bit of oil.


Answer 2:

Saltwater conducts electricity, which is why water and electronics don't mix (even tap water has enough salt in it to conduct electricity). All you need is something to keep the water from getting at the electronics. Normally this is done by keeping the wires in insulated tubes, and by keeping the leads that attach to the motor air-tight (and thus dry) as well. The thing that actually runs the motor is the magnetic field generated by the current flowing in the wires, and there's nothing about water and magnetism that doesn't mix.



Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use