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How To Demonstrate Static Electricity

How To Demonstrate Static Electricity

In this video, Paul Cook explores the fascinating world of static electricity, an essential topic in GCSE physics.

Here’s what you can expect in this video:
🎈 Balloon Attraction: Watch as a charged balloon magically attracts objects like a polythene rod and an oven tray.
πŸ’¨ Bubble Bending: Witness the enchanting dance of bubbles as they are influenced by the charged balloon’s electric field.
πŸŒͺ️ Straw Experiment: Explore the electrifying behaviour of a straw when it encounters static electricity.

This experiment is not only entertaining but also a great way to introduce basic principles of static electricity, where objects can become charged by the transfer of electrons and then interact with other charged or uncharged objects based on their charges (attraction or repulsion).

In this experiment, the balloon becomes negatively charged, which allows you to observe its effects on various objects in the experiment.

You will need:

      • Bubble mixture (soap solution)
      • Straw
      • Oven tray
      • Balloon
      • Polythene rod
      • Duster (preferably made of a synthetic material)

Method:

    1. Prepare the Balloon: Inflate the balloon and then deflate it several times to stretch it out a bit. This will make it easier to create static electricity.
    2. Charge the Balloon: Rub the balloon against the duster vigorously for about 20-30 seconds. This action transfers electrons from the duster to the balloon, giving the balloon a negative charge.
    3. Test for Static Electricity: Now, hold the charged balloon near the polythene rod or oven tray. You should observe a few demonstrations of static electricity:

      a. Balloon Attraction: Bring the charged balloon close to the polythene rod or oven tray without touching it. You should notice that the balloon is attracted to these objects. This is because the balloon has a negative charge, and objects with a positive charge, like the polythene rod or oven tray, will be attracted to it.
      b. Bubble Bending: Dip the straw into the bubble mixture to create a bubble wand. Now, blow a bubble and bring the charged balloon close to it. The negatively charged balloon should cause the bubble to bend or move towards the balloon. This is because the negative charge on the balloon repels the electrons in the bubble’s surface, causing it to move.

All health and safety measures are the responsibility of the teacher doing the demonstration. A thorough risk assessment should be carried out and guidance procedures followed. It is suggested that you practice before demonstration in front of a class.

Additional Experiments: You can try other objects as well, like the straw, to see how the charged balloon interacts with them. The key is to observe how objects with opposite charges attract each other, and objects with similar charges repel each other.

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