In this science experiment we will explore static electricity and make a soda can race across the
floor chasing a balloon that has been negatively charged with a wool cloth or hair. In the process
will learn how opposite charges attract (negative electrons and positive protons) and transferring
electrons from one surface to another.

Materials To Static Electricity Balloon Soda Can Racer

  • Balloon
  • Empty Aluminum Soda Can
  • Wool Cloth or Your Hair

Watch The Static Electricity Balloon Soda Can Racer Video:

Process for Static Electricity Balloon Soda Can Racer:

1) Blow up the balloon and tie it off.

2) Find a nice flat, hard, smooth surface.

3) Set the aluminum soda can on its side on the flat, hard, smooth floor surface. Make sure its
sitting still to begin.

4) Get your piece of wool out (or your hair) and rube the balloon fast and vigorously on it for about
15 seconds or so. Your charging the balloon up with static electricity.

5) Hold the balloon out in front of the can. Depending on the weather you may need to hold the
balloon as close to 1 inch from the can. Humid weather reduces static electricity.

6) The balloon will start to move toward the balloon. If you place the can on the opposite side of the
can it will roll in the other direction.

7) Get a few balloons, cans, and friends and have some races to see whose can moves the
fastest to the finish point.   

The Science Behind Static Electricity Balloon Soda Can Racer.  

In this science experiment we transferring electrons from the wool cloth to the surface of the
balloon. Rubbing the balloon with the wool cloth completes the transfer. The electrons now on the
surface of the balloon are attracted to the protons in the aluminum soda can.  

Opposites attract each other. In this case we have electrons which have a negative charge
(balloon) and protons that have a positive charge (soda can). When they get close to each other
the attraction makes the can roll towards the balloon.  

Here is another experiment you can try demonstrating the same effect. Charge up the balloon with
electrons by rubbing the wool cloth or hair on it. Now press the balloon against the wall. If you have
a good charge it will stick to the wall instead of falling down. The wall has protons with a positive
charge that attracts the negatively charged electrons in the balloon. Now go grab your friends and
experiment with static electricity and the balloon soda can racer!
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