Sticky Static Balloons science experiment : Fizzics Education

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Sticky Static Balloons

You will need:

• One water balloon
• One balloon pump
• One cotton shirt

1

Fill the water balloon with air using the balloon pump.

2

Rub the balloon on your shirt quickly for 10 seconds.

3

Place the balloon against a wall or your friend’s cheek!

4

Get the Electricity & Magnetism Unit of Work here!

• How does electricity actually flow?
• What makes magnets become magnetic?
• Why is there electromagnetism and what does this tell us about electricity & magnetism?
• From series & parallel circuits to conductors & insulators, there’s a lot to explore & learn!

Includes cross-curricular teaching ideas, student quizzes, a sample marking rubric, scope & sequences & more.

5

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Why Does This Happen?

Rubbing an object can cause it to build up an electrical charge. This happens because the rubbing action can make one object pass electrons to another. Which way the electrons travel is dependent upon what materials you are rubbing together.

A loss of electrons makes an object positively charged and a gain of electrons makes an object negatively charged.

Opposite charges attract, like charges repel.

So how does the balloon work? The charge built up on the balloon is the opposite to the charge of the surface that it sticks to.
Opposites attract!

Variables to test

More on variables here

• Try rubbing the balloon on different cloth materials. Which works best?
• Does it matter about the speed of the balloon rubbing or how many times the balloon is rubbed?
• Try large vs small balloons

Interactive Simulation

Check out this interactive simulation created by the University of Colorado PhET Project below.

1. Click on the balloon and drag it around the shirt and see how the electrons interact.
2. Bring the balloon into the clear space and let it go to see where it is attracted.
3. Watch what happens to the electrons on the wall as you bring the balloon closer.

 Click to Run

PhET Interactive Simulations