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Physics 2

Laboratory Activity 1
1st semester 2018-2019

Electrostatic Forces

Part I. Like and Unlike Charges

Materials: Plastic balloon, glass rod, piece of silk or nylon, polystyrene foam, thread, ring stand
and ring, aluminium foil, toilet paper, towel.

Procedure A
1. Tear up small pieces of paper or toilet paper to form a pile of these. Make sure fans
are turned off.
2. Charge up the glass rod by rubbing with nylon or silk cloth then put it close to the pile
of paper. Observe and record what happens.
3. Repeat procedure 3 by rubbing inflated balloon with hair and put it close to the pile of
paper. Observe and record what happens.

Guide questions
1. What was the charge of the glass rod and the balloon? Which is negative/positive?
Explain.
2. What was the purpose of rubbing? How is it related to electrostatics?
3. Explain observations.

Procedure B
1. Set up experiment by hanging a piece of polystyrene foam and aluminium foil on the
ring stand. Use the thread to hang objects at the same height.
2. Rub the glass rod again with nylon/silk cloth. Bring it close to the hanging foam and
aluminium at separate instances (always rub before bringing it close). Observe and
record.
3. Repeat step 2 using the balloon rubbed with dry hair. Observe and record.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 but this time, touching the foam and the aluminium with the
charged glass rod/balloon. Perform this at separate instances. Observe what
happens with the foam and the foil.
5. Repeat step 4 but this time, charging the foam using the balloon, and the aluminium
with the glass rod. Observe and record what happens to the foam and the foil.
6. Try out for 2 foams or 2 aluminium foils hanging instead of different materials.

Guide questions
1. How did your results compare with the results of the other group?
2. What charge, if any, was on the polystyrene foam, the foil, and the tiny pieces of
paper before electrical charges were brought near them? What is the reasoning for
your answer?
3. What charge, if any, was on the polystyrene foam and the foil after the electrical
charges touched them? What is the reasoning for your answer?
4. Describe the interaction between each pair of materials you used. Use the terms
attract, repel, and no attraction.
5. If your materials did not react as predicted, why do you think this may be? What
could you do differently?
6. Describe the interaction of
a. Like charges
b. Unlike charges
Reference: https://manoa.hawaii.edu/exploringourfluidearth/chemical/chemistry-and-seawater/atoms-and-molecules/activity-electrostatic-forces
Part II. Tiny Bubbles

Materials: Smooth surface, balloon, dishwashing liquid, some water in a cup, and straws

Instructions
1. Mix the dishwashing liquid with water in a cup.
2. Using the straw and an aspirator (mouth can be used alternatively but be careful not
to ingest the soapy water), make bubbles on the smooth surface. Tip: Surface must
initially be wet.
3. Inflate the balloon and charge it up.
4. Put the charged balloon close to the bubble. Observe and record what happens.
5. Make a smaller bubble inside the first bigger bubble made.
6. Repeat step 4. Observe and record what happens.

Guide Questions
1. How did the bubble behave when the balloon was drawn close to it? Why?
2. How did the small and large bubble behave when the balloon was drawn close to the
2 bubbles? Why?
3. Explain observations using the concept of electrostatic forces.

Part III. Electrostatic Race

Materials: Plastic Bottle and Soda can (cleaned and empty)

Instructions
1.Form a group according to the number of plastic bottle and soda can pairs available.
2.Position the soda can in a marked starting point labelled START.
3.Assign a FINISH LINE.
4.Race the soda cans to the finish line using the concept of electrostatic forces.
Touching or the blowing of the soda can is not allowed. Only electrostatic force is
allowed.
5. Tip: Use the plastic bottles.

Guide Questions
1. How did you make the soda can move? Explain why?
2. Were there any differences in motion depending on the size of plastic bottles used?