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ERIC Number: EJ1033499
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Electrostatic Deformation of Liquid Surfaces by a Charged Rod and a Van De Graaff Generator
Slisko, Josip; García-Molina, Rafael; Abril, Isabel
Physics Teacher, v52 n5 p266-268 May 2014
Authors of physics textbooks frequently use the deflection of a thin, vertically falling water jet by a charged balloon, comb, or rod as a visually appealing and conceptually relevant example of electrostatic attraction. Nevertheless, no attempts are made to explore whether these charged bodies could cause visible deformation of a horizontal water surface. That being so, we were quite surprised when we discovered that a 19th-century French book contained a drawing showing an appreciable deformation of an oil surface caused by a charged rod. When we initially tried to recreate this electrostatics demonstration, we didn't succeed in reproducing the effect with a charged rod. Despite the initial unsuccessful try, we were not discouraged and we modified the demonstration a little bit, finding that it was possible to cause visible deformations of different liquid surfaces by using a Van de Graaff generator, as we will explain later.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A