Bill Nye the Science Guy: Static Electricity
1. What does the word “static” mean?
2. How does a Van De Graaff Generator work?
a. Electrons are deposited on a rotating rubber belt
b. Electrons on the rubber belt are deposited on the large metal ball on the top
3. Why does Bill’s “Rocker Hair” stand up on end?
The electrons on the Van De Graaff generator are deposited on Bill’s hand and move up to the
individual hairs on his wig. Because all the hairs are negatively charged, they repel each other,
pushing each other as far away as they can.
4. How can you get rid of “static cling”? Why does this method work?
Sprinkle water. The water absorbs the electric charge
5. When the paper people dance, are they being charged by contact or induction?
6. When something is being “grounded”, where are the electrons coming from/going to?
7. Is amber above or below cloth in the electrostatic series?
8. If a plastic bottle and wool are rubbed together and a glass bottle and silk are rubbed
together and both are put on their sides, will the bottles roll towards each other or away
from each other? Why?
The bottles will roll towards each other. When the plastic and wool are rubbed together, the
plastic develops a negative charge, as it is lower on the electrostatic series. Glass, on the other
hand, becomes positive when rubbed with silk. Since the two bottles have opposite charges, they
attract each other.