Overview of Static Electricity Experiments by Ron Kurtus - Succeed with Science Projects and Experiments. Key words: physics, electrical charges, attraction, repulsion, measurement, School for Champions. Copyright © Restrictions

# Overview of Static Electricity Experiments

by Ron Kurtus (revised 17 November 2012)

Static electricity is a collection of electrical charges on the surface of materials.

Experiments with static electricity concern detecting and measuring it, creating static electricity, and optimizing applications of it. Sometimes unique or new methods can be invented.

Questions you may have include:

• How is static electricity detected and measured?
• What experiments are done on creating static electricity?
• What experiments are done on applications concerning static electricity?

This lesson will answer those questions.

## Detecting and measuring

Before you can do any experiments with static electricity, you need to be able to detect when static electricity is present and measure how strong it is.

A homemade electroscope can be used to detect static electricity. Separation of the leafs gives an idea of a measurement of the strength of the charges.

### Characteristics

Characteristics used in detecting and measuring static electricity:

• Charged materials attract or repel
• Charges have an electrical field that can be measured

For example, you can tell that an item such as a comb, balloon or piece of plastic is electrically charged by how well it attracts bits of paper. You can optimize this "detector" by trying to use smaller bits of paper or by experimenting with other materials that will be attracted.

### Measurement

The measurement of the strength of the static electricity with such a system is relative. That is, you can compare your test item with a standard item. Like, compare the strength of a charged balloon, piece of plastic, etc. with a charged comb.

## Creating static electricity

One set of experiments concerns studying the factors involved in creating static electricity. Either you want to find which factors will optimize creating static electricity, or you can find factors that will diminish your ability to make static electricity and help to control it.

Factors in creating static electricity include:

• Method
• Materials
• Conditions
• Materials used
• How dry materials are
• Humidity in the air
• Temperature of materials and the air
• Amount of rubbing or pulling apart
• How fast you rub materials

## Applications

Applications of static electricity include

• Pick up dust
• Stick ink to paper
• Remove pollution in air
• Create short-term current

## Effects

• Attraction and repulsion
• Sparks
• Current

## Controlling

• Static cling
• Fly-away hair
• Shocks and sparks
• Dangerous sparks
• Lightning protection
• Prevention
• Protection

## Summary

Static Electricity experiments concern determining the important factors involved in causing Static Electricity, measuring these factors, and determining the relationship between factors or optimizing the values to either increase or decrease Static Electricity. Sometimes unique or new methods can be invented.

Look at new ways to do things

## Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials

### Websites

Experiments Resources

### Books

Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

## Students and researchers

www.school-for-champions.com/experiments/static_electricity.htm

Please include it as a reference in your report, document, or thesis.

## Where are you now?

School for Champions

Experiment topics

## Also see

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