# Grass Seed and Electric Field Demo

• erok81
In summary, the conversation discusses a class project involving building a box with oil and grass seeds to demonstrate electric field lines when a charge is added. The box will be made of plexiglass with thumbtack probes and will be used with an overhead projector. The questions revolve around finding electrically conductive oil and determining the necessary voltage for the experiment to work. The expert suggests considering magnetic field lines as a safer alternative and recommends using a bar magnet and iron fillings for the demonstration.
erok81
I really wasn't sure where to put this thread...so I hope this is okay.

Anyway, for our class project I am going to build a small box containing oil and grass seeds. After adding a charge, electric field lines will form. That is the basis of the presentation.

My question comes in the form of building this device. It will need to be clear as it will be used with an overhead projector.

I am going to build the box out of plexiglass about 5"x8"x0.5". For the probes I was just going to stick thumbtack like objects through one side of the 'glass leaving the head inside the box and the pin sticking out of the box to attatch alligator clips too.

That's about as far as I am now which brings me to my questions and ultimate point of the thread.

1. The oil. This will need to be electrically conductive. Where would one find something like that?

2. What sort of current will I need to generate this field. The unit will portable so I was hoping to be able to use a battery. But I could use a plug with whatever voltage would be required if need be.

Hello erok81,

I've never made such a project. But I'm guessing that the amount of voltage that you would need to make even tiny objects line up in electric field lines would be dangerously large. I'm talking about tens of thousands of volts or so -- enough to kill a person. And it's the voltage that would be important here, not so much the current.

And for the oil, I'm pretty sure that you would need non-conducting oil. The electric field in a conductor is zero (in static conditions). So if you had conducting oil, it wouldn't show any electric field lines. And due the the large current (I = V/R, where R is very small) it might likely start fire.

Might I suggest revising your experiment to show magnetic field lines instead? That can be done completely safe and would only require the materials you already have, a bar magnet, and some iron fillings. You could even use an electromagnet if you wanted to.

## 1. What is the purpose of the Grass Seed and Electric Field Demo?

The purpose of this demo is to show the effects of an electric field on the growth of grass seeds. It demonstrates how electric fields can influence the growth and development of living organisms.

## 2. How does the electric field affect the growth of grass seeds?

The electric field can affect the growth of grass seeds by altering the movement of charged particles within the seeds, which can impact their metabolism and growth processes. This can lead to changes in the rate of germination, growth, and overall health of the seeds.

## 3. What materials are needed for the Grass Seed and Electric Field Demo?

To conduct this demo, you will need a container with soil, grass seeds, an electric field source (such as a Van de Graaff generator), and a power source. You may also need a conductive material, such as aluminum foil, to help create the electric field.

## 4. What are the potential applications of this demo in the scientific field?

This demo can have various applications in the scientific field, such as studying the effects of electric fields on plant growth and development, investigating the role of charged particles in biological processes, and exploring the potential use of electric fields in agriculture and horticulture.

## 5. Is the Grass Seed and Electric Field Demo safe to conduct?

As long as proper precautions are taken and the demo is conducted under adult supervision, it is generally considered safe. However, it is important to follow all safety guidelines and use appropriate protective equipment when dealing with electricity.

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