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Where there is charge, there can be sparks

Postby deltaid » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:48 am

Hello, my 10 year old son has chosen "where there is charge, there can be sparks" science experiment from the science buddies web site. We have been trying for about a week to do the first step and are having no luck in the first step. I am literally having bad dreams about this, because we already told the teacher that this is the project we chose for science fair, and it's too late to change. We first assembled the electrophorus (aluminum pie pan,scotch tape, and styrofoam cup),now we try to charge the electrophorus by rubbing an acrylic sheet with wool for 15-30 seconds and we get nothing. We hear a little bit of static forming when we rub the sheet with wool, but not much. We pick up the electrophorus by holding the styrofoam cup and set it on the acrylic sheet and.... Nothing . So of course when we try to charge the Leyden jar we also get... Nothing.we have followed all the directions, multiple times and still nothing. Do you have any suggestions on what we might be doing wrong? Have any other kids done this experiment? Any help is greatly appreciated. This project has taken over my subconscious . Sleepless in Baton Rouge.

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Re: Where there is charge, there can be sparks

Postby williamcolocho » Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:45 pm


It sounds frustrating. Sorry it's not going well.

Since you seem to be getting some static electricity I have to assume you have the right materials. Any chance one of the materials is not as specified? Also, try 30-60 seconds to see if there is more build up.

Make sure your working surface is dry and non-conductive (wood).

You mentioned that you are in Baton Rouge. Humidity in the air is not your friend. Dry air is best for building static: even small quantities of water make materials more conductive and don't allow for static build up. Make sure your hands are dry and if at all possible try your experiment in a room that is air conditioned (dryer air).

Let us know how it goes, and sorry it's not going as expected. Science can be tricky this way. Hope you figure out what is going wrong soon.

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