In nature, all bodies have electrostatic charges, and for this reason, often when the charges are opposite, electrical discharges, sparks can be generated or in some cases, when we touch charged bodies with opposite polarity, we experience strong discharges of electricity. A simple and efficient way to check the electrostatic charges of bodies is to create devices to measure these charges. In this article, we will look at how to make a homemade electroscope which will allow us to detect the presence of these electrostatic charges in the environment.
- A glass container.
- A plastic sheet.
- Copper conductor wire.
- Aluminium foil.
Setting up our electroscope
To begin with, we will create a lid for our glass container with the plastic sheet. If the original lid of the container is plastic we will not have to create our own lid, otherwise, we place the mouth of the container on the plastic sheet and with the help of a pencil we mark the edge of it on the sheet, and with a knife or scissors we cut the circle that we will use as the lid of the container.
Next, we take a piece of copper wire about 30 cm long and make a kind of spiral similar to the one used in electric cookers. The rest of the wire is directed downwards as a kind of antenna.
Then, we take the plastic lid, create a hole in the middle and put a small plastic tube or piece of straw through it, insert the copper wire structure through there and the free end that will go inside the container, we bend it like a kind of hook.
Now, we create two small sheets of aluminium foil about 3 cm wide and 4 cm high, make a hole slightly larger than the diameter of the copper wire at one end of each sheet of aluminium foil, and insert them into the hook created with the copper wire.
We insert the assembly into the glass container and fix it with adhesive tape. Then, we make a bend in the copper wire so that it is aligned to one side (as shown in the demonstration video). We rub any metallic surface or a cloth and bring it close to the copper wire structure to check if the copper wire is electrostatically charged.
How it works
When we bring a charged object close to the newly created apparatus, the negative charges go to the top, while the positive charges go to the bottom of the apparatus. As the charges are equal, the aluminium foils repel each other, indicating that the element has an electrostatic charge. This is how our homemade electroscopeThe only thing left to do now is to test it with different objects to verify its functioning.