Spinning Match – Table Trick
The science of static electricity and friction makes this matchstick rotate.
When you cautiously balance a matchstick on the rim of a coin that has also been precariously balanced onto another coin, it might sound like rotating the matchstick will cause it all to come tumbling down. That might be the case if you were to use your hands. What if you were to use static electricity to rotate the matchstick? Would that even work? We'll show how this isn't just possible, it's downright cool.
- Clear plastic cup
- Two nickels
- Safety glasses
- Adult supervision
- Lay one nickel flat on a table.
- Carefully balance the other nickel, vertically, on top of the nickel that is laying flat on the table.
- Balance a matchstick on the vertically balanced nickel. It might take you a couple of tries, but you'll get it! Once you have the entire setup complete, it should look like the picture on the right.
- Being careful not to bump your balanced apparatus, place the plastic cup over the matchstick and nickels.
- Blow up and tie off a balloon.
- Rub the balloon against your shirt, hair, or against a rug to generate some static electricity.
- Maneuver the balloon around the outside of the cup and watch as the match follows the balloon. Neat!