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ELECTROSCOPIC ENERGY

Make your own homemade electroscope

Suitable For

Grade 6

Difficulty

2

Time Required

 <12 Hours

Supervision

Advised

What’s it about?

An ‘electroscope’ is a scientific instrument that is used to detect the presence and magnitude of electric charge or ‘static electricity’ on a body. Static electricity or an electric charge is caused by friction between the surfaces of bodies, and can be as harmless as brushing a comb through your hair or as fierce as ice crystal rubbing against each other in a thundercloud.

Make your own electroscope to measure the extend of the charge of static electricity on items around your house:

Topics covered

Electroscope, Static electricity, Friction

What will I need?

  • GLASS JAR
  • ALUMINIUM FOIL
  • CARDBOARD
  • STRIP OF SILVER MYLAR PAPER
  • WIRE COAT HANGER
  • MODELLING CLAY OR RUBBER CEMENT
  • STICKY TAPE

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

The above experiment works, because in all electrical activity, similar charges repel and opposite charges attract one another. Your ‘electroscope’ simply indicates the level of attraction and repulsion of electrical charges. A positive charge of static electricity is generated by the friction of the comb or balloon rubbing against your hair or wool clothing. When this positively charged item is pushed against the aluminium ball, the item attracts negative charges, which move up through the wire. Only positive charges are left in the Mylar strip, causing the similar charged ends to be pushed apart.

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