Nothing is more amazing than how easy it is to generate static electricity with next to nothing. On a daily basis, it’s this static electricity that makes our hair stand up when we take off a sweater, and sometimes even creates a little spark that jumps. It is the same electricity that causes a slight discharge when we kiss or shake hands. These phenomena are observed more often when it is cold and dry, since these are the conditions that favor the generation of static electricity.
Today we will generate static electricity and see its effect on small balls of aluminum foil. This activity keeps kids busy during the holidays and allows them to discover science in a fun and playful way!
All you need is a piece of aluminum foil and a balloon.
Start by inflating the balloon and cutting a few small pieces from the aluminum foil. Squares of about 2x2cm are more than enough.
Form small balls with the squares, being careful not to crush them too much. The dumplings should be light.
Place these balls on the table and then rub the ball vigorously on your clothing for about twenty seconds. The ideal is a garment made of wool, but other materials will work as well.
Gently approach the ball above the balls and watch the show!
The aluminum pellets bounce towards the ball and fall back after touching. There you go, your kids have done their first science experiment!
In the video: youtube
By rubbing the balloon against the fabric, it became statically charged. The more the ball is rubbed, the greater the amount of static electricity accumulated. You should know that electricity doesn’t like to stay pooled in the same place and needs to circulate. Since the aluminum pellets are not electrically charged, when they approach the balloon, they are irresistibly attracted to it by the electrostatic force. They fall back after taking some of the power out of the balloon. This is why after a while, when the balloon is completely discharged in static electricity, the phenomenon stops.