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10 minutes

Two statically charged objects, both influencing each other. This experiment will make it seem like you can do magic!



Step 1

Inflate the balloon and tie it off with a knot.

Step 2

Cut out different shapes from the plastic bag. A square, a string and a circle, for example.

If you cut out a strip from the middle of the plastic bag, you will get an ‘open’ circle.

Step 3

Rub the balloon on your hair a couple of times, or on a woolly jumper. Now rub one of the plastic shapes you cut out on your hair, or on the woolly jumper.

Step 4

Hold the plastic shape above the balloon and let go of it. You may have to shake your hand a little to get it off, because it will stick to your hand.

Move the balloon back and forth, and up and own. With a bit of practice, you can make the plastic float above the balloon. Try it with each of the different shapes you cut out!


What did you discover

By rubbing the balloon and the plastic shape on your hair, or on a woolly jumper, they both become statically charged. You can make the plastic shape float by holding the statically charged balloon underneath it. The balloon then repels the plastic, creating an upward force.

But at the same time, gravity is trying to pull down the plastic shape. And because these two forces are opposed, the piece of plastic remains afloat in mid-air.