the best science on the web about
static electricity

Bill Nye and Static Electricity
Image: iStockphoto.com/asterix0597

Bill Nye and Static Electricity

It can look like magic but it's just the buildup of electrical charges. Static electricity is created when positive (+) charges collect on one surface and negative (−) charges collect on another.

Watch Bill Nye demo a Van de Graaf generator. Then discover what Mickey Mouse, tractor beams, and balloons have to do with static electricity.

Bill Nye/Disney
Loading...
Charged Fingers: Do You Have the Magic Touch?

Charged Fingers: Do You Have the Magic Touch?

It's not magic, it just looks that way. Find out how you can use static electricity to move a pencil without actually touching it. More...

Activity
Discovery
The Wonders of Physics: Van de Graaff

The Wonders of Physics: Van de Graaff

Been to a science museum? You probably saw a metal ball that makes people's hair stand on end. Here's how the Van de Graaff generator uses static electricity to do that. More...

Article
University of Wisconsin, Madison
John Travoltage

John Travoltage

Combine Travolta's dance moves, a carpet, and a metal door knob to make sparks fly...and see the transfer of charge. More...

Interactive
PhET
Balloons and Static Electricity

Balloons and Static Electricity

Why does a balloon stick to your sweater? Use this simulation to see how charges affect the sweater, balloon, and wall. More...

Interactive
PhET
Battling Space Junk with a Tractor Beam of Static Electricity

Battling Space Junk with a Tractor Beam of Static Electricity

Could space junk (orbiting debris) be cleaned up with static electricity? Discover why scientists think electrostatic forces could be the answer to the Kessler Syndrome. More...

Article
WIRED
Electrons!

Electrons!

Electrons can be moved from one object to another to produce static electricity. In this game, you can't let the electrons hit you, but remember your positivity attracts them! More...

Game
kongregate.com
Frostbite Theater: Static Electricity and Water

Frostbite Theater: Static Electricity and Water

What do water molecules have in common with Mickey Mouse? Find out by watching this simple, but awesome, experiment with static electricity. More...

Video
Jefferson Lab
How Shocking

How Shocking

Benjamin Franklin might come to mind when you're flying a kite, but you should also think of him when you receive a static shock. Find out why. More...

Interactive
PBS
Leyden Jar Experiment Video

Leyden Jar Experiment Video

Watch as Science Bob and his friends re-create some of Benjamin Franklin's science experiments with shocking results. More...

Video
Science Bob
The Innovative Chemistry of Tinsel

The Innovative Chemistry of Tinsel

Believe it or not, tinsel was once the focus of chemical innovation. Go back in time to see how it was made — and even recommended for making a Van de Graff generator at home. More...

Article
Popular Science
Where There Is Charge, There Can Be Sparks!

Where There Is Charge, There Can Be Sparks!

For centuries, scientists have been storing electrical charges in jars. You can build one of these "Leyden jars" ( which are a kind of capacitor). But be careful. To avoid shocks, get adult help. More...

Activity
Science Buddies
Yay Static!

Yay Static!

While 500,000 volts of static electricity will do a number on your hair, it's not enough to get inside your body or harm you. Find out why. Then try the Static Soda Can Experiment. More...

Video
Science Bob

Latest Comments

You Also Might Like

  1. cold fusion

    cold fusion

  2. superconductors

    superconductors

  3. baseball

    baseball

  4. ultraviolet light

    ultraviolet light

  5. hockey

    hockey