Flying Peanuts and Pie Tins
- A Van de Graaff Generator
- Styrofoam Bowl
- Styrofoam Packing Peanuts
- Small Aluminum Pie Tins
Place an entire stack of thin foil pie pans upside-down on top o fthe generator annd get ready for a pie pan storm. When run, the generator will lift each pan in sequence and fling them in various directions. This works best with little pie or tart pans.
For a second experiment place your styrofoam bowl of peanuts on the generator. This time, when the generator is turned on, you have flying peanuts.
What's going on?
A Van de Graaff generator is an electric power supply which has the characteristic of high voltage and low current output. It is extremely useful because it produces electric fields which are strong enough to be measured and played with. A Van de Graaff generator spews a 'charged wind'. All objects near the generator become electified because of the 'charged wind' emitted by the metal sphere. Remember, alike charges repel each other. Since each of the pie tins and styrofoam peanuts is being given the same charge they repel one another.