Static Electricity

Aluminum Can Polarization
Place a metal can on a table and bring a charged object near it. What happens? You might be surprised by the result. But we're not going to tell you the answer because you need to try it first. While the result may seem like magic, it is actually simple laws of physics at work. And this Interactive provides insight into those laws. The simple laws that explain the observation help to explain why any charged and neutral object attract. So try the little experiment, then open the Interactive and find out how the laws of physics explain this seemingly magical interaction between the metal can and the charged object. Haven't tried the experiment yet? Well go ahead and click the link. The Physics Classroom police will catch up with you later.

Now available with a Concept Checker.

Rub a balloon on a wool sweater and it becomes charged. And when you bring that balloon near other objects, rather strange affects are observed. But why does a balloon induce such effects on surrounding objects? In this simulation, you will SEE why as you view the movement of charges that result from a nearby balloon. You will learn all about charged and uncharged objects, charging methods, and grounding methods. And once you've done your learning in Practice mode, you can try out the Play mode and see if you can conquer three challenges. 

Now available with a Concept Checker.

Name That Charge
Do you think you understand charging methods? Well maybe you do. But one thing is for sure - this little Interactive is going to quickly challenge your understanding ... and improve it if it's not quite complete. Seven electrostatic charging situations are presented and your mission is to determine the charge that each object would acquire as the result of the process. Game-like features track your progress through the exercise. Animations of the charging process are provided for each situation. With the Help Me! button, question-specific help is just a mouse-click away.

Now available with Task Tracker compatibility. Learn more.

Coulomb's Law
We are all familiar with static electricity effects. We've observed the force that holds two pieces of laundry together when pulled out of the dryer. But not too many people know that the strength of that force follows a relatively predictable scientific law known as Coulomb's law. In this Interactive, learners will explore Coulomb's law of electrostatic force. 

Now available with a Concept Checker.

Electric Field Lines
A source of charge creates an electric field that permeates the space that surrounds. The use of lines of force or electric field lines ae often used to visually depict this electric field. This Interactive allows learners to simply drag charges - either positive or negative - and observe the electric field lines formed by the configuration of charges.

Now available with a Concept Checker.

Put the Charge in the Goal
It won't take a whole lot of time with this Interactive before you realize that Physics is Phun.  With its true game-like style, learners use the concept of electric fields to guide a puck around obstacles to a goal. The Physics Classroom offers Nerd Island Studios a special thanks for allowing the Put the Charge in the Goal Interactive to be part of our collection.

Electrostatics Landscapes
The cumbersome task of determining the electric potential surrounding two charge sources just got a whole lot easier. Now with the Electrostatics Landscapes Interactives, learners can place a couple of charges anywhere upon the conductive paper, tap the Start button, and observe the system approach electrostatic equilibrium. The potential is printed on the paper at a variety of positions surrounding the charges. The Interactive also includes the option of displaying the electric field lines surrounding the configuration of charges.


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