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Overview of Static Electricity Experiments

by Ron Kurtus (updated 21 November 2022)

Static electricity is a collection of electrical charges on the surface of materials.

Experiments with static electricity concern detecting and measuring it, creating static electricity, and optimizing applications of it. Sometimes unique or new methods can be invented.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Detecting and measuring

Before you can do any experiments with static electricity, you need to be able to detect when static electricity is present and measure how strong it is.

A homemade electroscope can be used to detect static electricity. Separation of the leafs gives an idea of a measurement of the strength of the charges.


Characteristics used in detecting and measuring static electricity:

For example, you can tell that an item such as a comb, balloon or piece of plastic is electrically charged by how well it attracts bits of paper. You can optimize this "detector" by trying to use smaller bits of paper or by experimenting with other materials that will be attracted.


The measurement of the strength of the static electricity with such a system is relative. That is, you can compare your test item with a standard item. Like, compare the strength of a charged balloon, piece of plastic, etc. with a charged comb.

Creating static electricity

One set of experiments concerns studying the factors involved in creating static electricity. Either you want to find which factors will optimize creating static electricity, or you can find factors that will diminish your ability to make static electricity and help to control it.

Factors in creating static electricity include:


Applications of static electricity include




Static Electricity experiments concern determining the important factors involved in causing Static Electricity, measuring these factors, and determining the relationship between factors or optimizing the values to either increase or decrease Static Electricity. Sometimes unique or new methods can be invented.

Look at new ways to do things

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