Waxing poetic – soda can, balloon, and static electricity experiment
NEWSFLASH – Soft drink cans HATE balloons!
How many times have you snickered at Dad walking around the house with a sock stuck to his back? Or watched as he ran his hand up his shirt to scratch and pulls out one of those antistatic dryer sheets? The reason these items sticks to Dad has nothing to do with his popularity in the laundry world. It’s simply due to the fact that the laundry items are chock full of electrons and Dad, well, he’s just not.
- Take a soda can and lay it on its side on a smooth flat surface.
- Now rub the balloon back and forth on the top of your head. Yes, Reeko agrees that you look pretty silly rubbing that balloon on your head.
- Hold the balloon close to the can but not so close that they touch.
- Notice that the can moves away from the balloon.
When you rub the balloon on your head you are loading it with electrons. Those electrons attract protons (or vice versa), of which the can has plenty, and send the can on its merry way. The same principle applies to clothes in a dryer.
Clothes in a dryer exchange electrons, usually when different fabric types are dried together in the same load. Some clothing items get loaded and attract other clothes that are not loaded – static electricity is generate (as much as 12,000 volts worth). Anti static sheets put a little layer of film on the clothes so that the material cannot rub against each other (instead the coating rubs against the coating). You wax your car, you wax your floor, so why not wax your clothes.