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Explanation of Static Electricity Experiment: Electrical Attraction of a Comb by Ron Kurtus - Succeed with Science Projects and Experiments. Key words: science, sparks, electroscope, static cling, attraction, repulsion, balloons, measurement, School for Champions. Copyright © Restrictions

Static Electricity Experiment: Electrical Attraction of a Comb

by Ron Kurtus (revised 17 November 2012)

Opposite electrical charges attract and similar charges repel each other. But also, with static electricity, a charged object will attract a neutral object.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.



Purpose of experiment

There are several possible purposes in studying static electricity created when you comb someone's hair.

The first purpose is to simply demonstrate how a comb can be charged with static electricity so that it will pick up small pieces of paper.

A deeper purpose is to answer some questions:

Research

Do some research on the creation and measurement of static electricity to determine the possible factors involved in using a comb to create charges. List the information and your resources in your log book.

Possible factors include:

Experiment

There are different aspects to this experiment. You could only do one and still have a complete experiment.

Picking up different materials

  1. Comb your hair with a plastic comb.
  2. Try to pick up small pieces of paper or tissue.
  3. Also put the comb near your arm or your head to see if the hair will stand on end.
  4. Try other small items, of different materials.
  5. Make a chart of what materials you can pick up.
  6. Draw some conclusions about what materials are attracted to the comb.

Strength of attraction

  1. Get different square sizes of tissue paper (thus different weights of the same material).
  2. Comb your hair and try to pick up the smallest piece.
  3. Repeat with a bigger piece, until you can no longer pick it up with the comb.

If you could accurately measure the weight of the pieces, you could determine the actual strength.

Different combs

  1. Use a comb to pick up some pieces of tissue.
  2. Using the same person, try combs of different sizes and materials to pick up the tissues.
  3. Make a comparison chart of the size and material and how well they pick up the tissues.
  4. Draw some conclusions.

Different hair

  1. Try to pick up tissues using the same type of comb, but with different people.
  2. Try this by combing the hair of a dog, cat, or other furry animal.
  3. Make a comparison chart of hair type and ability to pick up tissues.
  4. Draw some conclusions on what type of hair or fur works best to create static electricity.

Summary

You can perform a number of static electricity experiments with a comb.


This could be a "hair-raising" experience


Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials

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Books

Top-rated books on Science Fair Projects


Questions and comments

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.


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