Static electricity does interesting things when humidity drops. You may feel a shock when
touching something or notice that your hair is standing up on its ends. Here we will illustrate
how static electricity can make water bend.
- Nylon Comb
- Water Faucet
Process Bending Water With Static Electricity
1) Turn the water faucet on low. You need to make a stream of water about 1/16 inch in
diameter. Use your ruler to check.
2) Comb your hair for about a minute. This will build up a static charge in the comb.
3) Lift the comb (teeth forward towards the water) near the stream of water and about 3 or 4
inches under the faucet tap where the water comes out. The water will bend away from the
comb once you get an inch or so away from the stream.
4) Experiment with moving your comb closer and further from the water.
Does the distance of the comb from the water change the amount the water bends? Record
If you re-charge the static charge by running the comb through your hair more change the
amount the stream bends ? Record your results.
Adjust the amount of water coming out of the faucet. Make the stream thicker and thinner and
test. Record your results.
Experiment with different types of combs to see if some work better than others. Record your
Static electricity is the build-up of electric charge on an objects surface. Static charges remain
on an object until they either bleed off to ground or are quickly neutralized by a discharge.
Electrical charges are created when two objects rub against each another. As objects are
rubbed, some electrons jump from the surface of one object to the surface of the other. Objects
that lose electrons becomes positively charged. Objects that gain electrons becomes negatively
charged. What material the objects are made of has a big effect on how many electrons move or
jump. This amount of electrons jumping / moving determines how much of an electrical charge
accumulates on the objects. Hair, nylon, and balloons are very good at charging up with
electrons when they are rubbed together.
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