How to Produce Static Electricity

Static electricity is strong enough to make your hair stand up.
••• Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Static electricity occurs when an electrical charge builds up due to friction between two different objects, usually items that are not good at conducting electricity. You've probably had static electricity in your clothes and hair when they were clingy. The following shows you a few ways to produce static electricity.

With Rubber Shoes

    Put on a pair of rubber-soled shoes such as sneakers.

    Shuffle your feet along the carpet as you walk across a room.

    Touch a person or metal object to receive a shock.

With Salt and Pepper

    Spread a small amount of salt and pepper onto a table until it is thinly laid out, not clumpy.

    Rub a plastic spoon with a wool cloth in only one direction.

    Bring the spoon down slowly over the salt and pepper until it is almost touching.

    Watch as the salt and pepper particles fly up to the spoon and stick to it due to static electricity. See which particles stick first, the salt or pepper.

With Balloons

    Blow up a balloon and tie it.

    Rub the balloon on a wool cloth or on your hair.

    Put the balloon on the wall and watch it hang there as if by magic.

With the Hair

    Comb your hair over several times on a dry day.

    Tear small pieces of tissue and place them on a table.

    Put the comb close to the tissue pieces and watch how they cling to the comb.

    Things You'll Need

    • Rubber-soled shoes
    • Carpet
    • Metal object or another person
    • Salt and pepper
    • Plastic spoon
    • Table
    • Wool cloth
    • Balloon
    • Wall
    • Comb
    • Tissue

    Tips

    • When the air is dry, static electricity is enhanced and more noticeable. Keep the air humidity above 30% if possible to reduce the risk of static shock. Normal static shocks are harmless to the body. Lighting is an extreme example of static electricity.

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