Bend Water with Electricity

bend water with electricity


Materials for this activity (and several awesome electricity experiments) are in our shockingly fun Electricity Kit. Check it out for more activities (and each kit we sell, we’ll donate one).


This experiment will have you bend water with electricity in no time.  Try this out at home, and see if you can impress your friends and family! First get a regular balloon:

Blow it up, tie off the end, and rub the balloon on your hair. When you rub the balloon, you’re creating an electric charge on the surface of the balloon. See if you can make your hair stand up!

use a balloon to bend the water

Finally, go to the kitchen sink and turn on the tap so that a thin stream of water comes out. Move the balloon close to the stream and you’ll see it move!  Try rubbing the balloon on different materials (wool, wood, and metal). How do the different materials affect your ability to bend water with electricity?

static electricity bending water

How does it work?

When you rub the balloon onto your hair (or wool), you’re creating static electricity. You might know that electricity is simply the building up of tiny bits of matter (stuff) called electrons. All materials have electrons in them, but some (like your hair or wool) give them off more easily. When you rub the balloon onto your hair, you’re transferring electrons from your hair the balloon. This gives your ballon what we call a “negative charge”.

how water bends from static electricity

A water molecule (H2O) exists as what scientists call a “di-pole”. This means that the molecule has a positive and negative pole like a magnet. Since the balloon is negatively charged (-), when you bring it close to the water it causes the water molecules to align their positive sides (+) closer to the balloon. This is just like how a magnet would behave.

Since the (-) of the balloon is close to the (+) side of the water, a force is exerted similar to a magnet. This allows you to bend water with electricity!

What else can you use to bend water with electricity? Try finding plastic objects and rubbing them in your hair or wool. What works best?

5 Responses to “Bend Water with Electricity”

  1. Amber February 9, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    This is so awesome. I love this. I did this idea for a science fair, and I came in second place. Thanks, Explorabox!!!

    • explorabox February 9, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

      You’re welcome!

    • britney September 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      does it work??

  2. JANESSA May 27, 2013 at 12:02 am #

    It was so awesome, I could see it move when I put it in the water! It was fun even though it is for preschoolers.

  3. Elizabeth October 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    These are so cool. I work with child care providers and I would love if there was a way to get these in a PDF to be able to share more easily.

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