Can you bend water?

Bend water with this simple fun experiment using materials you probably have in your home!

Materials:

  • A latex balloon and/or a drinking straw
  • A faucet with running water

Procedure:

  • Rub the balloon (or straw) on your head for 20 seconds or so.
  • Turn on the faucet to allow a very gentle stream of continuous water to flow.
  • Move the balloon (or straw) near the stream of water.

Observation and Results:

  • What did you observe?
  • What things influence how much you can bend the water?
  • Can you explain what is happening and why?
  • Can you find other objects that can bend the stream of water?
  • Does a magnet bend water?
  • What causes the balloon or straw to stop bending the water?

Explanation:

 

 

Static electricity is an imbalance of electric charges within or on the surface of a material. The charge remains until it is able to move away by means of an electric current or electrical discharge.

When you rub the balloon or straw on your head, you are loading it up with an imbalance of positive charges. These positive charges attract the negative charges that naturally exist in water (in balance, of course with positive charges). This attraction is strong enough for the water molecules to want to get closer to the charged object. In total, this attractive force is enough to change the direction of the flow of water.

Bend Water with Static Electricity – Images

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Variations:

You can try to adjust the flow of water from very very small to a larger stream. What happens to the bend of water when you change the rate of flow of the water? Did you try a comb?

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Coco Science

Coco is interested in STEAM with a particular interest in the A. She has a hamster named Marshmallow and likes to read, craft, cook and dance.