Friday, October 23, 2009

Static Electricity for Experiments

If you're a homeschool mom like me, you may not have balloons in the house when you need them for science experiments. "What do you mean -- you thought it was okay to play with the balloons like they were toys? Don't you realize that I need them on rare occasion and don't want to have to make a trip to the store? Playing with toys? What will you children think of next???"

When Dr Wile tells your kid to make static electricity for a science project and there is no balloon to be found, see if there's styrofoam in the house. If you take a styrofoam plate and rub it vigorously against your hair (as you would do with a balloon to build up a charge), it works. The styrofoam doesn't have as much oomph as a balloon; you can't use the static charge to hang the plate on the ceiling. But it works well enough to pull the electrons in a piece of foil or a very thin trickle of water.

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