Static Electricity Experiment for Kids

We’ve all experienced static electricity caused by one thing or another, especially during dry winter months. But do you and your kids truly understand what causes static electricity?

Static electricity is caused by the transfer of electrons from one material to another. That annoying static electrical spark happens when a material has built up extra electrons (such as feet shuffling along carpet). Those electrons are ready to jump to the next material that has less electrons on its surface. When that happens a static electrical “spark” occurs.

A simple experiment you can do with the kids requires only 2 simple ingredients each: 2 inflated ballons and an aluminum can … and of course their heads of hair.

Have the kids rub their balloons, one at a time, against their head. Then have them try to touch the balloons together. Both balloons will have become negatively charged and will not be attracted to each other.

Now have them repeat the experiment, recharging the ballons and have them see what happens when they place it against the aluminum can. The negatively charged balloon with the extra electrons will be attracted to the positively charged aluminum can with less electrons. Have them move the balloon slowly away from the can, and it will follow behind.

Static electricity can be more than a simply annoyance in our lives. It can be dangerous to our electronics and computer equipment. Keeping ourself “grounded” against static electricity can often be as simple as touching a metal surface to expel the extra electrons, before touching delicate electronic equipment.

Douthit Electrical can answer any electrical safety questions you may have about your home. Check out our current specials and give us a call. Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.

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