Extreme Science: Electrostatic Carousel - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Extreme Science: Electrostatic Carousel

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Electrostatic Carousel

What you will need:

  1. Paper drinking cups
  2. Aluminum foil
  3. Pencils
  4. Play Dough ®
  5. Paper clips
  6. Sharp knife
  7. Adult supervision
  8. A gullible, yet good natured friend.

Procedure:

1) As you will soon realize, there are many ways you can make the Electrostatic Carousel. Today, we are going to begin with paper cup. Draw an “X” on the bottom of the cup. Now draw another “X” so that you have four lines evenly spaced as shown.

2) Draw lines down the side of the cup using these eight points on the bottom as your reference as shown:

3) Now draw lines around your cup approximately ½ inch from the top and the bottom as shown:

4) Have your parents cut four flaps around the cup using the lines as guides. Bend the flaps out as shown.

5) Now take a second cup and make a hole in the bottom, making sure that it is centered. The hole should be slightly larger than a number 2 pencil. Cover the outside of this cup with aluminum foil then put this cup inside of the other cup that you just made.

6) Place a six inch square piece of aluminum foil on the table. Place a clump of Play Dough ® (approximately two inches in diameter) in the center of the foil. Place a sharpened pencil in the Play Dough ® so that the sharpened end is pointing up. Now straighten out a paperclip and place it in the Play Dough ® so that it is pointing horizontally, approximately two inches above the table. Finally, place your cups over the tip of the pencil so that the pencil goes through the hole in the inside cup and the tip rests on the bottom of the outer cup as shown. Place another lump of Play Dough ® on the table about twelve to eighteen inches away. Place another paperclip in this lump of Play Dough® standing straight up with a loop in it as shown.

7) Now go find that gullible, yet kind and forgiving friend and tell them that this is an electrostatic carousel that is powered by the energy coming from our bodies. Show them that when you place both hands on the aluminum foil and point it so that the paperclip is pointing directly through the loop in the other paperclip, the cup will begin to spin. Show them how to do it, then move it back and let them try.

What is going on?

The truth is, the only way that the cup will spin is by gently blowing on it. As you place your hands on the foil and begin to move the cups ion place, gently and quietly blow on the fins that you cut out in the cup. The air movement will make the cup spin. As soon as you run out of air, pull the foil back and tell your friend it is their turn. Unless they know the secret and blow on the fins of the cup, the cup will just sit there no matter how hard they try to line up the paperclips. Once they get frustrated and admit that they cannot do it, you can make something up and tell them that maybe they are dehydrated and should go drink a couple of glasses of water or maybe they need to get their brain cells excited so they should try doing your math homework for you or something. Get creative and have some fun with it before you tell them that this is just an April fool’s joke.

Radical Rick
Extreme Science

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