A Hair-Raising Science Experiment

Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2021

Students in Blue Cluster Science Specialist Andrew Prasarn’s class tried new, electrifying hairstyles as part of a science lesson this week. The class used a Van de Graaff generator to create static electricity.

A Van de Graaff generator is an electrostatic generator that uses a moving belt to accumulate an electric charge on a hollow metal globe on the top of an insulated column.

Students were able to make connections to their own experiences with static electricity and things they have seen about it on the news and on social media stories. Mr. Prasarn said exploring positive and negative charged particles helped the class understand the structure of the atom as part of their chemistry unit.

“The excess of similar charges created a repelling effect on anything touching the machine, including students’ hair!” Mr. Prasarn said. “It was definitely memorable; the students came back after the weekend retelling the stories of how vividly they felt the electricity traveling on and through their bodies when they were connected to the Van de Graaff.”