Goal: To observe static charge
Materials and Procedure
- Read up on electrostatic charges and the electroscope at
the physics classroom. Check out historical electroscopes to get a better idea of your options for building one: Kenyon University site.
- Make an electroscope:
Follow this link to learn how to make a very simple electroscope.. You may want to think about how you could change the container to make quantitative measurements of the separation of the leaves.
If you want to make a more accurate electroscope, try these instructions: 1955 Popular Electronics article.
This simple device will allow you to detect charge in various household objects.
- Calculate the force necessary to raise your electroscope "wings" to 10, 20, 30, and 40 degrees of separation against the pull of gravity. [where 0 is vertical and 10 degrees of separation is a 5 degree swing sideways for each wing.]
- Estimate the charge necessary to create the force for each calibrated distance above.
- Record the separation caused by bringing the electroscope near at least three different charged objects.
- Estimate the actual charges on the objectes you measured.
- Describe your materials, equipment, an dprocedures in sufficient detail that your fellow students could repeat your experiment.
- Report your data. Be sure to indicate the amount of error in your measurements. For example, if you can only measure a mass of 25 gms within 1 grm, your error would be 25 ± 1, or 1/25 = 4%.
- Present your data in an organized form, preferably in a table, in such a way it is easy to compare results as you repeate trials or vary a specific contributing factor.
- Show a sample calculation, if you have calculated values.
- If you did a series of experiments, varying something by increasing or decreasing a factor, try to plot your data (y-axis) as a function of the factor (x-axis).
- You may use a spreadsheet to calculate your information and create your table.
- Summarize your results.
- Draw conclusions about what is happening.
- Suggest at least one way to improve your experiment.
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