Why does your hair stand up when rubbed with a balloon? was Kim’s question

Kim. I think we have something called ‘static electricity’ at work here. I asked my team to try to explain what ‘static electricity’ is.

static
As my friends have said we have met electrons before. These were moving  electrons. They were moving along a wire carrying their charge with them. Here we have electrons that are not moving, but they still have an electrical charge, so they are static.

Lightning is thought to be caused by static electricity collecting in clouds.

But now for your question Kim. When you rub your hair with a balloon. Some of the electrons are moving from your hair to the balloon. Or it might be the other way around …. some might be moving from the balloon to your hair. At the moment we don’t know which is happening. However whatever way it happens one of the objects (hair or balloon) loses electrons and becomes positively charged and the other object (hair or balloon) gains electrons and becomes negatively charged. Then we apply a famous rule about negative and positive charges …..like charges repel, unlike charges attract  soooooo  because we have a negative and a positive charge we have attraction. Your hair is attracted to the balloon, the balloon is attracted to your hair.

think you could work out a way to find out which of your two materials (hair or balloon) is the collector and the giver.

Have a think. You can then give your answer in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box or Ask another Question.

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