PhysicsQuest: Electrostatics Demos

Electrostatics demonstrations don’t work very well in humid Houston.  Here, you will be watching some videos of electrostatics demonstrations that are working as intended and you will explain why things happen the way they do.

Answer these questions on a separate piece of paper.  You may (and probably should) find websites to help you answer these questions.

Pith Ball Demo – (no audio is necessary for this video) – Watch on YouTube

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroscope

  1. Why does the charged rod initially attract the uncharged pith ball?
  2. After the rod touches the pith ball, why is the ball now repelled from the charged rod?
  3. What is happening when the hand touches the pith ball?

Electroscope Demo – (no audio is necessary for this video) – Watch on YouTube

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/mmedia/estatics/esn.cfm

  1. Explain, using sentences and diagrams, why the positively charged rod causes the piece of foil to move.
  2. The hand touching the electroscope while the charged rod is nearby causes the opposite effect to happen.  Explain what is happening now.

Bending Water – (no audio is necessary for this video) – Watch on YouTube

https://sciencebob.com/bend-water-with-static-electricity/

  1. Explain, using sentences and diagrams, why the charged rod causes the stream of water to bend.
  2.  If the rod was negatively charged in the video, would giving the rod a positive charge cause the water to be repelled from the rod?  Explain your answer.

Van de Graff Generator – (you’ll want audio for this one) – Watch on YouTube

http://practicalphysics.org/van-de-graaff-generator-basics.html

  1. Using diagrams and sentences explain how a Van de Graff generator works.  Show where the charges are stored and how they get there.
  2.  How does it create such high voltages?

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