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Creating Lightning With Balloons Essay

518 words - 3 pages

Physics experiment- creating lightning


We’ve got the assignment to try to create lightning, by charging two balloons using your hair. When both balloons are electrically charged, you slowly move them towards each other and you should be able to create a spark.

What would we have done differently?

We came up with a few ideas to test if you can create lightning with the use of two balloons in a different way. Firstly we would use different sizes of balloons, to see if this influences the experiment. We would also use different shapes of balloons and different thicknesses of balloons. Finally we would use different types of hair (thick, thin, short, long) to examine if this has any ...view middle of the document...


The electrical charge in these balloons must be a lot smaller than in lighting, so the spark is a lot smaller too. Since we’re trying to recreate lighting on a small scale, we expect that there will be sound as well as a spark.


When the balloons were rubbed against our hair, they made our hair stand up. When the balloons were brought together, there wasn’t any spark visible. There was, however, a sort of “tick”, the sound a spark usually makes. When we used thicker balloons, we still did not see a spark, only a “tick”. The different types of hair did not change the results, although the sound was louder when we used thick hair.


While we didn’t see a spark, we could hear a sound. Therefore, there must have been a small electric connection, which perhaps wasn’t large enough to be seen, or didn’t last long enough to see. While using thicker hair, the sound became a little louder, but we weren’t able to discover if this really had something to do with the thickness of the hair.


The spark might be enlarged by using different room temperatures, different humidity levels or charging the balloons for a longer time. If you use thicker hair, it would be interesting to test if the thickness really was the reason for the sound to become louder, or that is had something to do with the time the hair hadn’t been washed.


This experiment suggests there will be a spark when it is conducted correctly, and according to our results, there was a spark, even though it was not large enough to be seen.

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