# Electrostatics and aluminium foil problem

• yipkawa
In summary, after a metal rod is rubbed with a cloth, the rod remains neutral in charge while the cloth becomes positively charged. When a charged metal rod is brought close to a piece of paper or aluminum foil, the paper is attracted to the rod due to polarization, but the aluminum foil is repelled because it transfers charge from the rod and becomes similarly charged. This is because paper is a poor conductor of electricity, while aluminum is a good conductor.
yipkawa
1' after a metal rod rubbing with a cloth, is the metal rod remains neutral in charge whereas the cloth will be positive charge?
2' a small pieces of paper and aluminium foil are attracted by charged metal rods when the rods are brought close to them. however, the former stick to the rod while the latter not. why?

yipkawa said:
1' after a metal rod rubbing with a cloth, is the metal rod remains neutral in charge whereas the cloth will be positive charge?
2' a small pieces of paper and aluminium foil are attracted by charged metal rods when the rods are brought close to them. however, the former stick to the rod while the latter not. why?
What do you think happens in #1? How are a piece of paper and aluminum foil different in terms of their electrical properties?

OlderDan said:
What do you think happens in #1? How are a piece of paper and aluminum foil different in terms of their electrical properties?

is it one of them is conductor but the other one not?

yipkawa said:
is it one of them is conductor but the other one not?

That is the important difference between the paper and the aluminum. When the paper is attracted and sticking to a charged rod it is because of a slight realignment of the charges in the paper. This is called polarization. The paper usually remains neutral, so the attraction continues.

When a piece of aluminum touches a charged rod, charge is transferred from the rod to the aluminum. Both objects wind up with the same excess charge and so they repel one another.

## 1. What is electrostatics and how does it relate to aluminium foil?

Electrostatics is a branch of physics that deals with the study of electric charges at rest. Aluminium foil, being a conductor, can accumulate static electric charges on its surface due to friction or contact with other charged objects.

## 2. Why does aluminium foil stick to surfaces when it's charged?

When aluminium foil is charged, it becomes attracted to surfaces that have the opposite charge. This is because opposite charges attract each other according to the laws of electrostatics.

## 3. How does the thickness of aluminium foil affect its electrostatic properties?

The thicker the aluminium foil, the higher its capacitance, which is the ability to store electric charge. This means that thicker foil will have a greater tendency to accumulate static charges compared to thinner foil.

## 4. Can aluminium foil be used to protect against electrostatic discharge?

Yes, aluminium foil can be used as a shield against electrostatic discharge. Its conductive properties allow it to dissipate the charge and prevent it from affecting other objects.

## 5. Is it safe to touch aluminium foil if it's charged?

Generally, it is safe to touch aluminium foil that is charged with static electricity. However, it is recommended to discharge the foil by touching a grounded object before handling it to avoid any potential shocks.

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