Electroscope Exercises In Class

In this activity, you will explore electrostatics to learn how objects with unbalanced charges behave and interact using three pieces of simple equipment, the electroscope, electrophorus and Leyden jar.

The electroscope is a device for detecting small amounts of charge on electrified objects. It consists of a small vane (looks like a straw) that can pivot showing the presence of an unbalanced charge. On top is a round metal plate called a proof plane where charge can be applied to the electroscope.

The picture at right shows how the electroscope would respond to a negative charged object being brought near it. The presence of excess negative charge drives free electrons in the object downward. Excess negative charge in the vane causes it to repel by pivoting towards horizontal.

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Henry Sibley High School
Mendota Heights, Minnesota

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