Static straw – Experiment

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What’s the magic effect?

This amazing science demonstration appears like you can move a straw with the power of your mind.

You will need:

  • A drinks bottle
  • A plastic straw (I find McDonald’s straws work best. Subway straws don’t work at all.)

 

 

What’s the method?

The straw is moved by electrostatic attraction. Before balancing the straw onto the bottle lid you have secretly charged it up with ‘static electricity’. This can be done with a cloth rag or fleecy jumper. Squeeze down hard on the end of the straw through the material and pull the cloth along the length of the straw in one fast motion. The straw should be now charged. Carefully balance the straw on the bottle lid. This is harder than you might think as the straw is already being attracted to your fingers. Try to minimise the amount of time you handle the straw as you don’t want the straw to lose its charge. Now if you place your finger close to the end of the straw (as shown in the photo), the straw will start rotating and moving towards your finger. It looks very spooky!

 

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