I was in a cold dry place during the eclipse, and
at night in the dark tent I could even see tiny
sparks flying between my hair and my hat. It's
called 'static electricity,' and it happens
when a few electrons get pulled off the atoms
in your hair and onto your hat. That leaves
your hair with not quite enough electrons.
Electrons have a negative charge, so your hair
has a small positive charge when a few electrons
leave it. Positive charges repel each other, so
your charged hairs repel each other and stand out
from your head.
I'm actually guessing that it's your hair that
gives away electrons. It might be your hat that
gives away electrons. I don't know what your hat
is made of. Electrical conductors, like wires,
give off electrons, and the internet says wool is
a conductor, though not as good a conductor as a
wire. Wool is animal fur, and fur is the same as
hair, so hair must be a conductor, too.
Thank you for your question. I learned some
useful things, about how electrical conductors
lose electrons and electrical insulators pick up
electrons, but just on their surface.
This Scientific American article is good, and
it has easy experiments to try:
Here are a teacher's notes about static
electricity, from the internet -
• after rubbing wool on a rubber balloon, the
balloon should repel a negative pith ball - wool
is above a rubber balloon on the list.
• after rubbing hair on Lucite, the Lucite should
repel a negative pith ball - hair is above Lucite
on the list.
• after rubbing wool on PVC, the PVC should repel
a negative pith ball - wool is above PVC on the list.
• after rubbing wool on styrofoam, the styrofoam
should repel a negative pith ball - wool is above
styrene on the list.
• after rubbing polypropylene on glass, the glass
should attract a negative pith ball - glass is
above polypropylene on the list.
• after rubbing wool on Lucite, the Lucite should
attract a negative pith ball - Lucite is above
wool on the list.
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