A hair raising experiment

I’m sure we have all rubbed a balloon on a jumper and made hair stand on end or the balloon stick to a wall, but do you know why that happens? Its all do to with static electricity.

All you need to do is blow up a balloon and rub it on your jumper or hair.

Then place the balloon above your hair or some tissue paper and watch the hair or tissue paper become attracted to the balloon.


Try recording the time hair stands up for if you rub it across your head, once, 5 times and 10 times.

Do you think there will be a difference?

The Science Bit

All object are made of atoms. Inside atoms are protons, electrons and neutrons. Protons have a positive charge, electrons negative and neutrons have a neutral charge.

Opposite charges attract each other and like charges repel.

Mostly charges in an object are equal and balanced, static electricity occurs when the charges become imbalanced.

When you rub a balloon on a jumper you add electrons to the surface of the balloon. Your hair is now more positively charged than the balloon so when the ballon comes near, the hair is attracted to the balloon and so sticks up on end.

The same explanation works for the wall. Opposite charges attract, so the negatively charged balloon is attracted to the more positive wall.

You could try lots of things and see what sticks to your balloon.



There are 15 comments

  1. Amylynn

    Did you know if you put the charged balloon next to a stream of water it attracts the water towards the balloon as well. (just a slow tickling stream). Pencil shavings and rice krispies are fun too.

    1. ScienceSparks

      oooh i will try that. Apparently if you charge up a plastic comb and then put it near a metal tap, you see a spark! I have yet to make that work though. x

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