To use static electricity to separate a mixture of salt and pepper
All matter is made up of tiny atoms, which in turn are made of even smaller parts called protons, electrons and neutrons. While protons have a positive (+) charge, electrons have a negative (-) charge and neutrons have no charge at all. Usually, atoms have the same number of electrons and protons making them devoid of any charge or ‘neutral.’
- Pepper (ground)
- Plastic comb
Estimated Experiment Time
Less than five minutes
- 1. Shake some salt on a tablecloth
- 2. Shake some pepper on top of it
- 3. Mix well with your finger
- 4. Rub the comb a few times on the cloth
- 5. Bring the comb to about an inch above the salt and pepper mixture
Use clean dry wool cloth to rub the plastic comb for best results.
The pepper particles are attracted to the comb and attach themselves to it.
By rubbing the plastic comb with cloth, a static electric charge was developed on the comb which causes it to attract particles towards itself. The pepper particles being lighter than salt, are attracted to the comb and attach themselves to it.
Take a moment to visit our table of Periodic Elements page where you can get an in-depth view of all the elements,
complete with the industry first side-by-side element comparisons!