NEWSFLASH – Soft drink cans HATE balloons!
How many times have you snickered at Dad walking around the house with a sock stuck to his back? Or watched as he ran his hand up his shirt to scratch and pulled out one of those antistatic dryer sheets? The reason these items stick to Dad has nothing to do with his popularity in the laundry world. It’s simply because the laundry items are chock full of electrons, and Dad, well, he’s just not.
Soda can/balloon static electricity experiment
In this experiment, we will load a balloon with electrons and see how it interacts with a soda can (which is full of protons).
- Take a soda can and lay it on its side on a smooth flat surface.
- Now rub the balloon back and forth on the top of your head. Yes, Geek Slop agrees that you look pretty silly rubbing that balloon on your head.
- Hold the balloon close to the can but not so close that they touch.
- Notice that the can moves away from the balloon.
Why a static charged balloon repels an aluminum soda can
When you rub the balloon on your head, you load it with electrons. Those electrons attract protons (or vice versa), of which the can has plenty, and send the can on its merry way. The same principle applies to clothes in a dryer.
Clothes in a dryer often exchange electrons, usually when different fabric types are dried together in the same load. Some clothing items get loaded and attract other clothes that are not loaded – static electricity is generated (as much as 12,000 volts worth). Anti-static sheets put a little layer of film on the clothes so that the material cannot rub against each other (instead, the coating rubs against the coating). You wax your car; you wax your floor, so why not wax your clothes?
Supplies: Balloon, Soft drink can
In-Article Image CreditsThe Pepsi hot air balloon from The Aeriel Advantage via Fly Pepsi with usage type - Product photo (Fair Use). The Pepsi balloon is available for shows, events, festivals, and more!
Demonstration of attractive electric force between hair and balloon via Wikimedia Commons with usage type - Creative Commons License. January 22, 2020
Featured Image CreditThe Pepsi hot air balloon from The Aeriel Advantage via Fly Pepsi with usage type - Product photo (Fair Use). The Pepsi balloon is available for shows, events, festivals, and more!