PIRA 5A20.20 Coulumb's Law: Pithballs
Photo of Demonstration Used at the University of Texas at Austin.
Instructions / Notes:
- Two small pith balls are suspended from a support with nylon filaments.
- This demonstration uses a PVC rod with fur - or - glass rod with silk to charge the pith balls.
- Note: This demo uses static surface charges - which require very dry air conditions in order to work effectively.
If the air in the classroom is humid - then the surface charges will bleed away rather quickly.
- Once charged - the pith ball will be repelled by the provided PVC rod. (See the image below)
- It is also possible to show the forces between like charges by bringing two similarly charged pith balls near each other.
- To show opposite charges:
- On a day with very low humidity - one pith ball can be charged with the PVC rod rubbed with a piece of fur
- Then charge the second pith ball charged with a glass rod rubbed with a piece of silk cloth.
- This only works - if it is very dry day.
Image of one charged pith ball.
The 2 minute video below is intended for staff use.
Last Updated 04/2018 - UT Physics Dept. All Rights Reserved.