Sticky Static Balloons science experiment : Fizzics Education


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Sticky Static Balloons

Sticky Static Balloons

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

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


Sticky static balloons science experiment - materials needed
1 Sticky static balloons science experiment - placing the water balloon on the balloon pump

Fill the water balloon with air using the balloon pump.

2 Sticky static balloons science experiment - rubbing the water balloon

Rub the balloon on your shirt quickly for 10 seconds.

3 Sticky static balloons science experiment - sticking the static balloon to a face

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

4 A man placing his hand on a plasma globe. Energy is streaming out of the tesla coil towards his fingers

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.

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5 primary school kids working on circuits
6 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

Online courses for teachers & parents

– Help students learn how science really works

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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.

Balloons and Static Electricity

Click to Run

PhET Interactive Simulations
University of Colorado Boulder

A man with a glove above a liquid nitrogen vapour cloud

Experiment extension: Rising ghosts!

Paper ghosts rising towards a balloon

Learn More!


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