Science can be fun for all ages, especially when dealing with static electricity! There are quite a few experiments out there to try out and learn from. To begin with though, we must understand the basics.
All physical things are made up of atoms. Atoms consist of three components that each carry a charge. There are protons which are positive, electrons which are negative, and neutrons which are neutral and have no charge. This means that every physical object therefore has a charge. Opposites attract such as positive and negative, and like charges repel, like negative against negative. Mostly though, things have a neutral charge because they are balanced, which means no charge at all. Physical things acquire a charge when they experience an imbalance of protons and neutrons giving it either a positive or negative charge. This is where the fun begins!
– Two balloons
– Door frame
– A wool sweatshirt
Step 1: Start by measuring out two pieces of string of the same size and then taping them up to the frame of a doorway about an inch apart.
Step 2: Blow up two balloons and tie them shut so as to not let the air escape them, and then hang them on the strings so that they each are in the exact same position right by each other.
Step 3: Rub the wool sweater against each balloon one at a time to charge them up.
What is happening is we are giving the balloons an excess of electrons which will cause them both to be negatively charged and they will repel each other to try to get as far away as possible from each other. Try forcing them together, or try putting something in between them and then bringing them together to see what happens.
Magic Can and Cool Hair:
– Two inflated balloons
– Wool sweater
– Your hair
Step 1: First rub each of the balloons with the wool sweater and see if they will stay by each other. Because they both now carry a negative charge they will repel each other!
Step 2: Now, take one of the balloons and stand in front of a mirror. Rub the balloon back and forth over your hair and slowly pull it away. What do you see? Your hair has now been given a negative charge and each of your hairs are trying to be as far apart from the others as possible, thus giving you that awesome hair on end look.
Step 3: Place the empty can on its side on a flat surface. Rub the balloon against your head again and put it near the can. The can will come towards the balloon. If you drag the balloon across the table, the can will follow. This is because the can and the balloon have opposite charges and therefore attract.
Static electricity is definitely a fun way to learn about science!