The Digital Bits Science Labs are fun science experiments for young children. Kids, make sure you have an adult's permission before trying any of these science experiments.
Digital Bits Science Lab
Science Experiments for Kids, Parents and Teachers
This experiment shows how to separate pepper and salt using a balloon and static electricity.
One balloon (a comb and some plastic hairbrushes will also work well for this, particularly if you’re worried about the balloon bursting)
A cloth (wool will work best)
The Digital Bits Science Lab Experiment:
Wear safety glasses for this experiment – you don’t want salt or pepper getting in your eyes.
Mix a small pile of salt and pepper. The challenge here is to separate the salt from the pepper.
It’s easy if you have a balloon: inflate the balloon. Rub the cloth on the balloon, and the balloon will become negatively charged. This means the balloon will become attracted to objects that have a different charge. Luckily for us, the salt and pepper fall into this category.
After charging the balloon, hold it above the salt and pepper mixture and slowly bring it closer. You’ll see the pepper fly up and stick to the balloon, leaving the salt behind. The salt stays put because it’s heavier than the pepper. This is why you want to move slowly, because if you move too close too fast, the salt will also fly up and attach to the balloon.
When you’re done, you can either wipe or wash the balloon off to remove the pepper. Don’t pop it, or you’ll get pepper everywhere!
Other articles related to this topic:
- Move a stream of water with a balloon and static electricity
- Learn the basics of static electricity and electron transfer
- Why is it easier to swim in the ocean? Learn about buoyancy.
- Food coloring fireworks with oil-water separation
- Open your fingers and try to drop something: experiment with the body and its limitations