Electric Cornstarch

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Electric Cornstarch is a fun and easy experiment your kids will LOVE

Electric Cornstarch

Today we are sharing another fun and easy science experiment, Electric Cornstarch.

What You Will Need:

  • latex balloon
  • cornstarch
  • vegetable oil
  • bowl
  • measuring cup
  • spoon

What to Do:

  1. First, pour 1/2 cup of cornstarch into a mixing bowl.
  2. Then, add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil into the mixing bowl.
  3. Next,  Stir the mixture until it thickens.
  4. Blow up a balloon and tie it off.
  5. Statically charge the balloon using your hair, shirt, or rug. (We chose to rub it in our hair.)
  6. Place the charged balloon close to the spoonful of the cornstarch mixture.
  7. Once you witness the cornstarch jump towards the balloon, slowly move the balloon away.
  8. Repeat that as many times as you want!

How does it work? Explanation

You probably guessed this by now, since you rubbed the balloon against your hair, but this experiment revolves around static electricity. When you rub the balloon on a surface like your hair, you give the balloon additional electrons. These new electrons generate a negative static charge. Meanwhile, the cornstarch has issues about being a solid or a liquid, has a neutral charge.

When an object has a negative charge, it will repel the electrons of other objects and attract that object’s protons. When the neutrally charged object is light enough, like the dripping cornstarch, in this case, the negatively charged object will attract the lightweight object. But try attracting cornstarch while it’s in the bowl… it doesn’t work! You need to reduce the number of other forces acting on the cornstarch for this experiment to work, and that’s why you drip it from the large spoon. Dripping the cornstarch means fewer cornstarch molecules will be able to stick to each other, which enables the dripping cornstarch to swing towards the balloon more freely.

Check it out in action



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