Science Project on Static Electricity

When two insulated materials like rubber or scale are rubbed together a charge is formed on their surface. This charge is called static electricity. Simply it is the electric charge built up by friction on an insulated material. The following science fair project is to demonstrate the presence of static electricity on an insulated material.

Aim:

To move a balanced toothpick without touching it or any object connected to it.
Materials Required:
  1. A clear drinking cup made of plastic
  2. flat toothpick
  3. coin(nickel)
  4. balloon
Procedure:
  1. Make the coin to stand  up on its edge.
  2. Now balance the flat toothpick across the top of the coin.
  3. Take a clear plastic cup and carefully cover the balanced combination.
  4. Make an inflated balloon to get ‘charged’ by rubbing it against your hair several times.
  5. (your hair must be clean and free of oil)
  6. Hold the charged balloon and slowly move it around the plastic cup.
Results:
As you move the balloon, the toothpick also starts moving.
Why is it so?
Matter is made up of tiny parts called atoms. Each atom consists of positive and negative charge. While rubbing the balloon against your hair, the balloon gets more negative charge on it. The balanced toothpick can be moved by a very little force and thus the attractive forces between the negatively charged balloon and the positive centers of the toothpick atoms is strong enough to move the toothpick.