Electroscope Project

Directions to build a homemade electroscope. An electroscope is a device used to demonstrate the principles of static electricity. The operating principle of the electroscope is that like charges repel, and unlike charges attract.

Items needed:
Clear Jar--[A peanut butter jar is good]
Paper clip
a small piece of aluminum foil

Start by putting a very small hole in the center of the lid of the jar. A hole just bigger than the paperclip is what's needed.

Next bend the paperclip so that it looks like this:

Place this end through the bottom of the lid and bend it over so that the paperclip hangs inside the jar.

Take a small piece of aluminum foil 1.5 inches long and make it very smooth by running your finger nail over it until there are no wrinkles or creases in it. Next cut it so that it measures 1.5 inches by 1/8 inch. Now fold this long end over so that the folded piece is 1/8 inch by 3/4 inch. Now hang this over the end of the paperclip that hangs inside the jar. It should look something like this:

Now to use make some static and bring the object with the static on it near the end of the paper clip that sticks out of the top of the jar. You should notice that the two leafs of the foil separate. This is because as you bring a charged item near the electroscope the unlike charges travel to the top of the paper clip, leaving the bottom with the foil all the same charge, and since like charges repel the two leaves separate.