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When you run the balloon across your hair, invisible electrons (with a negative charge) build up on the surface of the balloon. This is called static electricity, which means “non-moving electricity.” The electrons have the power to pull very light objects, with a positive charge, toward them. Let’s try this out!
- An empty soda can
- A balloon full of air
- A head full of hair
- Place the soda can on a flat smooth surface, like a table or the floor.
- Rub the blown up balloon back and forth through your hair really fast!
- Hold the balloon close to the can without actually touching the can. The can will start to roll towards the balloon without you even touching it!
- You can also tear up small pieces of light paper (1.4 inch in size).
- Rub the balloon on your head again.
- Bring the balloon close to the paper pieces and see what happens!
- Does the size of the balloon change the power to pull the can?
- Does the size of the can change how quickly it moves?
- Does the material of the can, change how it moves?
- Does the length of the person’s hair affect the power of the static electricity?
- Do different thicknesses of paper change the outcome of step 4?
Why does it work?
When you run the comb through your hair, invisible electrons (with a negative charge) build up on the surface of the comb. This is called static electricity, which means “non-moving electricity.” The electrons have the power to pull very light objects with a positive charge, toward them.