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Static electricity and water

  1. Jan 10, 2014 #1
    Hello all, I watched a youtube video where you can rub a plastic tube on your hair, and the static electricity generated will pull a stream of water falling from a faucet.

    My question is, how would this be possible to do electrically? Meaning, using electricity or a battery powered device instead of rubbing 2 materials together? Is it possible?

    If so, what materials and voltages/currents would be necessary?

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2014 #2


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    Read up some on electrostatics, the current/voltage/ or what not isn't important here. It's important that the object you're using has a negative or positive net charge. Friction charges the objects in the video, and is idea since they aren’t good conductors. Conduction and induction on the other hand work well with conducting materials such as metals.
  4. Jan 10, 2014 #3


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    Static electricity often corresponds to very large voltages - hundreds of volts (but tiny amounts of charges, so it is not dangerous). You won't be able to reproduce this with a battery, no matter what you do with it.
  5. Jan 10, 2014 #4
    Actually static electricity is many volts AND amps but just for a few trillionths of a second
  6. Jan 10, 2014 #5
    Thank you all for the replies. I am really struggling to wrap my mind around static electricity.

    I guess what I am trying to ask is, how could you charge the plastic pipe using only electricity? Or, how could you simulate the same effect using AC/DC electricity and same/other materials? It doesn't seem possible to me.
  7. Jan 10, 2014 #6


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    Plastic pipe + electricity = lot of trouble for no real reason.

    What you can do is charge a plastic pipe with your hair and use induction to charge a metal object that's grounded. Then you can bend water with it.

    You can charge objects with electricity, but a battery isn't going to be sufficient or ideal.
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