Wednesday 17 February 2016

Science: Sticky Static

Static electricity is an electric phenomenon that is well known.  It is where charged particles are transferred from one place to another.

Here's something fun you can try when you are learning about static electricity and is great as an introduction to electricity.

When you rub a balloon against your hair or a jumper, charge transfer happens, this is when static electricity is made; when you rub a balloon against your jumper or hair, the balloon steals electrons (negatively charged particles)  when this happens you leave the jumper, or your hair in a positively charged state and the balloon is negatively charged.

The balloon will be attracted back to the sweater because opposite charges attract like opposite pole attract with magnets. 

The reason that the balloon will stick to the wall is because the negative charges in the balloon will make the electrons in the wall move to the other side of their atoms (because like charges repel) and this leaves the surface of the wall positively charged. Because opposite charges attract, the negatively charged balloon will be attracted to the positively charged surface of the wall.

Something else you can try:

Try using different materials to negatively charge your balloon.  Which material works best?

Scientific words learnt through this experiment:

  • Static electricity
  • Protons
  • Electrons
  • Negative charge
  • Positive charge

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