Bending Water

An easy and fun way to learn about static electricity!

Suitable for kids aged 5+

You Need:
  • A nylon (plastic) comb
  • A narrow stream of water from a tap
  • A head of clean, dry hair

What to do:
  1. Turn on the tap and slowly turn down the water until you have a VERY thin stream of water flowing.
  2. Take the plastic comb and brush it through your hair at least ten times.
  3. Now slowly bring the comb close the the running water, (without actually touching the water) If all goes well, the stream of water should bend towards the comb! How is bending you ask? Read on.

Why is it so?

This is occurring due to static electricity. It is very easy to make static electricity. All you have to do is rub two different materials together!

Rubbing an object can cause it to build up an electrical charge. This happens because the rubbing action can make one object pass electrons to the other. Which way the electrons travel is dependent on which materials you rub together.

One object will build up more electrons, therefore becoming NEGATIVE. The other object will lose its electrons, thereby becoming POSITIVE. When you get opposite charges, they attract!

So in this experiment, the two materials are the comb and your hair. The comb becomes more positive and your hair more negative!Oppositely charged objects are attracted together... so the water is attracted to the comb!

Try rubbing different materials on your hair, such as a balloon. Will other materials build up a charge and attract water?

Do more cool experiments with the science kits available on this website.