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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Opposites Attract

So why did the balloon grab hold of your hair and lift it into the air? And why did it pick up the tissue pieces? And what's in that dryer sheet?

When you rubbed the balloon on your hair, some of the electrons in your hair jumped over to the balloon. Since electrons are negative, that made the balloon negative. And since your hair was then missing some negative stuff, it became positive. Have you ever heard the expression "opposites attract"? Well, that applies to positive and negative, too! So, the negative balloon and your positive hair wanted to stick together. But since your hairs were all positively charged, they tried to get far apart from one another, and gave you that wild and crazy look! The tissue pieces are neutral, neither positive nor negative. They were also attracted to the balloon because the charges are different.

The antistatic dryer sheet contains a chemical that easily gives up positive charges. When you rubbed the balloon with the sheet, the positive charges moved to the balloon and neutralized all the negatives already there. So you ended up with a neutral balloon that didn't do anything fun!

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