Holding Charge
Make it stick.
Use static electricity to stick a straw to the palm of your hand, a window, a door, a wall - or just about anywhere.

Note: This activity works best when the air is dry (low humidity).

1. Tear off the ends of the wrapper on a new straw, then quickly slide the wrapper back and forth over the straw. Keep sliding it until the straw and wrapper feel warm (10 to 15 strokes should do the trick).

2. Remove the wrapper and place the straw in the open palm of your hand.

3. Slowly move your hand around, and see that the straw sticks.

4. Try rubbing another straw with its wrapper, and place it on a flat surface such as a window, wall, or door, and see what happens.


Did you get a charge out of this? Sure you did. You electrically charged the straw by causing negatively and positively charged particles to be moved around.

After rubbing it with its paper wrapper, the straw has more negatively charged particles left on it. This makes your straw negatively charged. When you bring your negatively charged straw near your palm, it causes your palm to become positively charged. Since opposites attract, your straw sticks.

If anybody asks, the charge on your straw is about 40 nanocoulombs!