Science Experiment: Static Electricity – Salt & Pepper Separator

Science Experiment: Static Electricity – Salt & Pepper Separator

All Charged Up a Look at Electricty

To understand electricity, you have to first understand the atom, the basic building block of all matter. Matter is all of the “stuff” in the universe. Matter is made up of atoms. Atoms have a nucleus, an inner core that is made up of neutrons which have no charge, and protons which have a positive charge. Atoms also have orbitals, particles that are located around the nucleus. These are called electrons and these have a negative charge.

If you had some salt and pepper and you mixed the two together, how long would it take you? Not long if you know how to do it.

What You Need:srpstaticpepperpour

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Plate
  • Balloon
  • Measuring Spoon

Blow up the balloon and tie it closed. Pour 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper onto the plate and stir it around. Rub the balloon back and forth quickly on the top of your head. Now hold the balloon close to the plate. What happens to the pepper flakes? What happens to the salt flakes?srpstaticpepperstick

When you rub the balloon on your hair the friction caused by the hair and the balloon rubbing against each other causes the electrons from your hair to transfer to the balloon. This gives the balloon a negative charge. When you held the balloon over the dish of pepper, the pepper stuck to the balloon because the pepper has protons and a positive charge.

The books, databases and websites on this page will help you do research and answer homework questions about static electricity.

Websites, Activities & Printables:

Science in Context: Static Electricity is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home. Login using your IndyPL library card number. The Science in Context database will show you articles, images and videos to help you learn about static electricity.​



You can also ask a math and science expert for homework help by calling the Ask Rose Homework Hotline. They provide FREE math and science homework help to Indiana students in grades 6-12.


Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations, or check out e-books and e-audiobooks from home right to your device. Click on a book jacket below to request a book or download it. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations, text a librarian at 317 333-6877, or leave a comment.

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5 Responses »

  1. this is cool and everything but if they teach this in schools and i wanna become a cop how is this gunna help me in the run also further more im a nerd so can anyone answer this whats the smallest thing in the universe only 10000 people know im one of them diametre of the centre of a blackhole

  2. Negatively charged electrons, orbiting the atomic nucleus, have no loyalty! It doesn’t take much for them to ‘jump ship’ and attach themselves to another nearby atom.

    Positively charged protons which form part of the atomic nucleus, have more loyalty and never leave their atomic nucleus!

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