[Steve Dufresne's] got another great project for us — a device that effectively gets rid of smoke!
It’s called an electrostatic precipitator and it works similar to the way many cars are painted today using a process called electrostatic coating. Electrostatic coating works by giving the paint particles an electrostatic charge, opposite to the charge on the vehicle’s body panels — this makes the two attract and results in using around 95% of sprayed paint — barely any over-spray, and a better bond to boot!
[Steve's] tried this experiment of creating a smoke precipitator with the eventual goal of using it on a car’s exhaust. He’s been through a few designs so far, and finally has one that works quite well. It’s not even that complicated, just take a look at the following diagram.
As the smoke enters the tube, it passes through a fine metal mesh which is negatively charged from his homemade high voltage power supply. This gives the smoke particles a negative charge, and as they continue to float up they get attracted to a positively charged metal tube. Low and behold — no smoke rises beyond this point. Don’t believe us? Check out the demonstration: