MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

1690 views

Why does your hair stand on end when you touch a Van de Graaff generator?

This is all down to static electricity.

Inside the Van de Graaff generator, there is a rubber band and rollers. As they are electrically insulated, when the motor turns they rub together and electrons are 'knocked' off causing a positive charge. 

In order to try and reach an equilibrium, electrons from the dome (and anything touching it) move to the positively charged rubber band causing it to slowly gain a positive charge.

If you are also touching the dome, you will slowly become positively charged including each of your hairs. As like charges repel, and hair is very light, they will try and get as far away from each other as possible, causing them to stand up.

Tom W. A Level Maths tutor, GCSE Maths tutor, GCSE Physics tutor

1 year ago

Answered by Tom, a GCSE Physics tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

167 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£18 /hr

Noam T.

Degree: Mathematics with Mathematical Physics (Bachelors) - University College London University

Subjects offered:Physics, Maths

Physics
Maths

“About Myself: I am an undergraduate student at UCL studying Mathematics with Mathematical Physics. Hoping to go into research after my degree, I have a true passion for my subjects and my aim is to pass on that passion to students in ...”

£18 /hr

Mark H.

Degree: Mathematics MMath (Masters) - Manchester University

Subjects offered:Physics, Maths+ 1 more

Physics
Maths
Further Mathematics

“Hello there, I'm Mark and I study Mathematics at the University of Manchester! Let me help you achieve your best! ”

MyTutor guarantee

£18 /hr

Georgina R.

Degree: Chemistry (Masters) - Bristol University

Subjects offered:Physics, Maths+ 1 more

Physics
Maths
Chemistry

“I am a motivated and hard-working student with 3 years of tutoring experience. I am a clear and concise tutor, who believes in a patient approach to learning.”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Tom W.

Currently unavailable: until 28/05/2016

Degree: General Engineering (Masters) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Physics, Maths

Physics
Maths

“Hi, I’m Tom, an Engineering student studying at Durham University.  I’ve always enjoyed the logical world of Maths and Physics and I hope I can teach you what I have learnt along the way, toboost your understanding and make complicate...”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Posts by Tom

How do you find the equation of a line at a given point that is tangent to a circle?

What is the largest possible length of a pole you could fit in a room?

Why does your hair stand on end when you touch a Van de Graaff generator?

Other GCSE Physics questions

What is induced in the core of a transformer

Can you define current, potential difference and resistance in a circuit, and give their units?

Define electric current

What is the difference between reflection, refraction and diffraction?

View GCSE Physics tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok