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Charging by Rubbing

Here’s a simple and interesting experiment that you can try out. Bring a plastic comb near some tiny pieces of paper. What happens? Nothing; the comb will not have any effect on them. Now rigorously rub the comb against a dry piece of cloth and bring it close to the tiny pieces of paper. You will notice that the comb attracts the pieces of paper towards itself. This happens not by magic. There is a clear and logical explanation for such an observation. 

Initially the comb is electrically neutral. So it has no effect on the tiny pieces of paper. When the comb is rubbed on a dry cloth, it gets electrically charged. This charged comb exerts an electric force on the tiny pieces of paper and attracts them. A glass rod rubbed with a silk cloth and an ebonite rod rubbed with a woollen cloth also acquires the ability to attract small pieces of paper and are said to possess an electric charge.


The procedure of rubbing a rubber balloon against your hair is quite easily performed. You might try it now if you've never performed it. When done, you will notice that the rubber balloon and your hair will attract each other. On a dry day, you might even be able to let go of the balloon and have it adhere to your hair.

This attraction between the two charged objects is evidence that the objects being charged are charged with an opposite type of charge.


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