Controlling Static Electricity
Grade level: 5th to 8th; Type: Electricity
This project explores ways to prevent getting shocked by static electricity.
- Does everyone experience static electricity?
- Can static shocks be prevented?
- What causes static electricity?
- Which method of preventing shocks works best?
- Do clothing, shoes, or dry air play a part in the static effect, or perhaps a combination of all three?
This project is best undertaken during the fall/winter months.
- Hand Cream
- Dryer Sheets
- Static Guard Spray
- A small handful of change
- Sweat Shirt
- Polyester Shirt
- Leather-Style Shoes
- Flip Flops
- Ask for four volunteers the day before your experiment.
- Ask the first volunteer to wear a sweatshirt and a pair of sneakers.
- Ask the second volunteer to wear a polyester shirt and take off his/her shoes.
- Ask the third volunteer to wear a sweater and leather-style shoes.
- Ask the forth voluteer to wear a t-shirt and a pair of flip flops.
- One at a time, ask each volunteer to scuff his/her feet across a bare floor and then touch something metal like a doorknob or to touch another person. Record what happens.
- Now, ask each volunteer to scuff his/her feet across a carpeted floor and then touch something metal like a doorknob or to touch another person. Record what happens.
- Now ask the volunteer wearing the sneakers and a sweatshirt to place a dryer sheet into each shoe.
- Ask the volunteer wearing the polyester shirt and socks to apply hand cream to his/her hands.
- Ask the third volunteer wearing the sweater and the leather-style shoes to apply static guard to him/herself. (Be cautious - do not spray this near face or eyes).
- Ask the forth volunteer wearing the t-shirt and flip flops to put a handful of change into his/her pocket.
- Ask the first three volunteers one at a time to repeat steps 6 and 7.
- Ask the fourth volunteer to repeat steps 6 and 7, but ask him/her to put his/her hand into his/her pocket and touch the change just before touching the metal surface or another person.
- Record all observations, answering the Research Questions.
Terms/Concepts: Static, Metal, Humidity, Moisture, Dry Air, Conductive, Non-Conductive, Positive charge, Negative Charge, Atoms
Static Shock and How to Avoid Them, http://www.static-sol.com/articles/static_shocks.htm.
"Static Electricity; Static elimination and control," Science Made Simple, http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/eliminatestaticelectricity.html.
School for Champions, by Ron Kurtus, http://school-for-champions.com/science/static_materials.htm.
Materials That Cause Static Electricity, http://jh399.k12.sd.us/DailyAssign/Physics/ch7materialstaticelec.pdf.
Humans and sparks: The cause, Stopping the pain and “Electric People,” by William J. Beaty (1997) http://www.electricitycentral.com/articles/staticsparks.htm.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.