Kw-logo-smaller

Static Electricity 101

Static Electricity
Static Electricity Experiment

Ever walked across the room to pet your dog and got a shock instead? Ever taken off your hat on a dry winter day and had a "hair raising" experience? Ever made a balloon stick on the wall by rubbing it against your clothes? Is it magic? No – it’s static electricity!


Attraction Action

To understanding static electricity you need to understand the basics of atoms and magnetism first.


All physical objects are made up of atoms. Inside an atom are protons, electrons and neutrons. The protons are positively charged, the electrons are negatively charged, and the neutrons are neutral.



Therefore, all things are made up of charges. Opposite charges attract each other (negative to positive). Like (similar) charges repel each other (positive to positive or negative to negative). Most of the time positive and negative charges are balanced in an object, which makes that object neutral.


Balancing Act

Static electricity is the result of an imbalance between negative and positive charges in an object. These charges can build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be released or discharged.



The rubbing of certain materials against one another can transfer negative charges, or electrons. For example, if you rub your shoe on the carpet, your body collects extra electrons. The electrons cling to your body until they can be released. As you reach and touch your furry friend, you get a shock. Don't worry: it’s just the surplus electrons being released from you to your unsuspecting pet.



And what about that "hair raising" experience? As you remove your hat, electrons are transferred from hat to hair, creating that interesting hairdo! Remember, objects with the same charge repel each other. Because they have the same charge, your hair will stand on end. Your hairs are simply trying to get as far away from each other as possible!



When you rub a balloon against your clothes and it sticks to the wall, you are adding a surplus of electrons (negative charges) to the surface of the balloon. The wall is now more positively charged than the balloon. As the two come in contact, the balloon will stick because of the rule that opposites attract (positive to negative).


Related Stories:

>
>

readers voted!

Comments

Shugopoke

Shugopoke wrote:

Deeee my bro did these science experiments in 7th grade. Now, he's in 9th grade (High s...
commented: Fri Nov 29, 2013

scn71402_1900221
I know this stuff, it's physics, 7-8 grade ^^
commented: Fri Nov 29, 2013

Prophey

Prophey wrote:

I AM LITTERALLY FILED WITH STATIC ELECTRICITY
commented: Sun Jan 06, 2013

there are 6 more comments

Please login or register to add comments

share with your friends


Twitter Facebook Myspace Digg


like this article?
Sign up now to get more just like!

latest videos

Static_poll

What's your fave static electricity experiment?

  • Making your hhair stand up on end
  • Rubbing your feet on a carpet to get a shock
  • Making a balloon stick to the wall

related stories

Micro_geothermal_micro
If you kept digging, what would you find? Probably lots of worms, roots, and a few dog bones. But...
Where does the energy come from to keep your house warm, lights on and car running?...
Micro_hydroelectricity-micro
It's hard to imagine that water can be used to create electricity. The two are a dangerous combin...

Random in the forums

-DayDreamer101-
k, i'll try again: Mary awoke from of her thoughts. her fluffy hat, and her long hair, were very warm. but nothing could make her heart warmer
reply 28 minutes
egyptiscool
egyptiscool posted in General:
questions please
reply 37 minutes
imagination44
imagination44 posted in General:
You guys are funny it's Misha Collins 
reply 44 minutes
Taskmaster
I played it years back. I got frustrated and only got to level 20 or so.
reply about 1 hour
Boysrock50
Boysrock50 posted in General:
Tutoring is great for teenagers who have done their exams. Parents will pay at least £10 for an hour session of maths tutoring to get their child into a good school (e.g. 11+ exam to get into grammar school where I am). Get 10 students and you have made £100 in an hour, and you can do this every week, say on Saturday.  You'd be surprised by how great it works, my sister is 17, doing A levels, and she's doing it with my mum. You don't need any qualifications or anything because you're self employed, but if you did well in your exams then parents will send their child to get tutored by you, and are willing to pay :P
reply about 1 hour

play online games

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

1515_gl_kidzworld_100x100_jpg_fz

Intriguing planets, weird and wonderful characters; challenge friends and find a...

157262_(2)

When you go back to Candyland, you’ll wonder why you ever left in the first plac...

100x100_ra_logo_girl

Uncle George has left you his farm, but unfortunately it’s in pretty bad shape. ...

_thumb_100x100

Shoot blobs with different properies to merge yellow blobs. Your blobs can be re...