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Hair color and static Featured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was carried out to determine if hair color affects the amount of static electricity produced. The test was done on black, white, blond and red hair.

Hypothesis

The color of hair does not affect the amount of static electricity it will produce.

Scientific Terms

Static electricity, electric charges, atom, nucleus, neutron, proton, electron, triboelectric

Background

Static electricity

Static electricity is produced when electric charges are accumulated on the surface of an object, for example, the body, or a comb, or a piece of plastic wrap. These charges will be discharged when the object comes into contact with another surface.

When the 2 surfaces rub against each other, friction is produced. Friction causes the transfer of the electrons from the surface that "donates" the electrons to the surface that "captures" the electrons. One material then contains more charges than the other. This imbalance in electric charges between the 2 materials causes static electricity.
Atoms are the building blocks of all matter and they are made of charged particles. Atoms consist of a nucleus which contain neutrons and protons. Atoms also contain electrons which are positioned outside the nucleus.

The ability of an atom to capture or donate an electron determines its place in the triboelectric series, (i.e. a list which shows which materials tend to take on a more positive or negative electric charge when rubbed). An atom that donates its electron will become positively charged and it is said to be more positive in the triboelectric series. An atom that tends to receive an electron becomes negatively charged and is said to be more negative on the triboelectric series.
 

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Complexity level:
5
Project cost ($):
300
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 hour for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found. You can purchase the wigs from a department store or specialist online stores. Wigs tend to be expensive, so you should try to borrow them from friends or their parents, as far as possible
Safety concerns:

None