The Physics of Static Balloon-Hair Stuff
Static electricity is a stationary electric charge that is built up on a material. We might experience static electricity when touching a doorknob or rubbing our feet on the carpet and shocking a friend - sometimes we can even see a spark. This static electricity is formed when we accumulate extra electrons and they are discharged onto another object.
So we know that electrons are tiny negatively charged particles, and protons are tiny (though not nearly as tiny as electrons) positively charged particles. Electrons move around in the outer shell of an atom, while protons and neutrons (neutral charge) reside in the center of the atom.
Sometimes the outer layer (the negatively-charged electrons) of atoms are rubbed off, producing atoms that have a slight positive charge. The object that did the rubbing will accumulate a slight negative charge as it gets extra electrons. During dry weather especially, these excess charges don't dissipate very easily, and you get static electricity.
So here's a good static electricity experiment: rub a balloon on your hair. Some of the electrons from your hair jump to the balloon, giving it a slight negative charge. Now if you put the balloon against a wall, it will stick since the negative charges in the balloon will attract the electrons in the atoms of the wall.
Hope you enjoyed this short blog post and learned something about static electricity!
Until next time,
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