Workout: Polarization


Read the web pages: Charge and the structure of matter and Polarization


Go to the PhET simulation Balloons and Static Electricity to perform the following tasks.

Answer these questions

  1. Click on the radio button "Show no charges." Then rub the balloon on the sweater. Is the balloon attracted or repelled to the sweater? To the wall? Explain why you think so. 
  2. Now switch to "Show all charges." Does what you see when the balloon is near the sweater and the wall confirm or contradict your explanation? Describe what you see. 
  3. Remove the wall and switch to the scenario with two balloons and "Show no charges." Move the green balloon to the right, where the wall used to be. Rub the yellow balloon on the sweater. Is the yellow balloon attracted to the green balloon? Do you think it should be or not? 
  4. Now turn on "Show all charges." What happens when the charged yellow balloon is brought near to the green balloon? Do you believe that the physics is being correctly represented here? Explain why or why not. 

Joe Redish, Fall 2016

Article 531
Last Modified: February 4, 2019