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Kids Science - Different Electricity Types

 Static and Current Electricity NOTE: If you attempt to do any experiments which involve electricity – NEVER use the electricity from a plug or socket. It is very powerful and very dangerous. You should only use batteries for electrical experiments.

There are two types of electricity:

1.) Current Electricity is caused by tiny invisible things called electrons that move through metal. This flow is called an electric current. Objects that need current electricity (moving electricity) are powered by batteries or by electricity which travels along wires from a power station. The circuit is completed by a switch, which turns the appliance on. When the switch is turned off, the circuit is broken and the appliance is turned off.

Many objects that we use in our every day routine are powered by electricity from computers and hairdryers to lamps and washing machines.

NOTE: If you attempt to do any experiments which involve electricity NEVER use the electricity form a plug or socket. It is very powerful and very dangerous. You should only use batteries for electrical experiments.

2.) Static Electricity - this type of electricity stays in one place. Static electricity is produced when some materials are rubbed together. Static electricity is the result of an imbalance between negative and positive charges in an object. These charges can build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be released or discharged. One way to discharge them is through a circuit.

How does static electricity work? Static electricity happens when there is an imbalance between negative and positive charges in objects. It causes crackles when you comb your hair and makes dust stick to television screens. Static electricity experiments work best on a dry day.

Lightning is caused by a natural build-up of static electricity in clouds. The lightning strike is just a giant spark of electricity. Lightning and certain eels (electrical eels) display it worldwide.

• Have you ever walked across the room to pet your dog, but got a shock instead?

The rubbing of certain materials against one another can transfer negative charges or electrons. For example, if you rub your shoe on the carpet, your body collects extra electrons. The electrons cling to your body until they can be released. As you reach and touch your furry friend, you get a shock. Don’t worry; it is only the surplus electrons being released from you to your unsuspecting pet.

• Have you ever taken your hat off on a dry winter’s day and had a “hair raising” experience?

As you remove your hat from your head, electrons are transferred from the hat to your hair, creating and re-arranging your interesting hairdo. Remember, objects with the same charge repel each other. Because they have the same charge, your hair will stand on end. Your hairs are simply trying to get as far away from each other as possible.

Colder climates have static electricity.

Combs attract bits of paper.

Clothing "clings" to your body is caused by static electricity..

• Have you ever made a balloon cling on to a wall after rubbing it against your clothes?

When you rub a balloon against your clothes and it sticks to the wall, you are adding a surplus of electrons (negative charges) to the surface of the balloon. The wall is now more positively charged than the balloon. As the two come in contact, the balloon will stick because of the rule that opposites attract (positive to negative).

All physical objects are made up of atoms. Inside an atom are protons, electrons and neutrons. The protons are positively charged, the electrons are negatively charged, and the neutrons are neutral. Therefore, all things are made up of charges. Opposite charges attract each other (negative to positive). Like charges repel each other (positive to positive or negative to negative). Most of the time positive and negative charges are balanced in an object, which makes that object neutral.

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