Electricity trick and experiments

In the air section you can find how to use science to perform magic tricks based on the electricity properties and how to enhance any magic show.

These tricks and ideas can be used in any science projects or just for fun.

If you know any different tricks that would like to share with the other kids, you can contact us and we will make it possible.


Click on the list bellow to find how to perform it.



What does a magnet do

You need: a magnet (U or horsehoe shaped), lode stone, paper clips, ten cent coin, paper box, pin (small neil), buttons, pennies

Step 1: Jumble together a box of paper clips, pins, small nails with buttons and pennies.
Step 2: Use the magnet to separate the items.

Magnet magic
What you will see: The objects made of iron or steel are drawn to the magnet. If your magnet is a strong one, some will even jump up to it. The plastic buttons and copper pennies do not move, nor do pins of brass.

Why: A magnet is an object that attracts iron and steel and certain alloys. A few other metals-cobalt, nickel, aluminum and platinumcan also be attracted but only by much more powerful magnets.

Natural magnets are a form of iron ore called "magnetite," or "lodestone" meaning "leading stone."

Man-made magnets, such as the horseshoe or bar you use, are usually either iron or steel. Very strong magnets are made of an iron alloy called alnico, which contains aluminum, nickel and cobalt.

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Can magnets attract through substances

You need: tacks, nails, clips, magnet, drinking glass, sheet of paper, dish of water

Step 1: Assemble tacks, nails and clips.
Step 2: Try to attract the various items with your magnet in the following ways:

  • Put several clips into an empty, dry drinking-glass.
  • Move the magnet about underneath the glass. What do ou see?
  • Put some tacks or nails on the table and cover them with a sheet of paper.
  • Move your horseshoe magnet slowly over the paper. What do you see?
  • Put brads (headless nails) into a dish of water. Place a magnet just above the water. What do you see?
  • Put several nails into a "tin" can. Move the magnet about beneath the can. What do you see?
  • Put a clip on top of a thin piece of wood, leather, rubber or cork. Move the magnet around slowly underneath. What do you see?

Magnit and electricity

What you will see: Magnets can act through glass, plastic, water, paper, leather, rubber and cork, but not through the can which is really an iron can coated with tin.

Why: Magnets can act through most substances. Iron and steel and other highly magnetic materials, however, take up the magnetism themselves and prevent the power from passing through.

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Where is the magnet the strongiest

You need: clips, pins or a pile of nails, magnet.

Now try to pick up the nails with the different parts of the magnet.
What happen?

Magnet poleMagnet back pole

What you will see: The nails cling to the ends of the magnet.

Why: A magnet has the strongest attraction at its ends. These are known as the north and south poles of the magnet.

In the horseshoe, or U magnet, the bar has been bent so that the poles or strongest parts are close together. This increases its lifting power.

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You need: a comb, a piece of wood (fur), water, metal radiator, doorknob.

Step 1: Try to rub a comb with a piece of wool or fur.
Step 2: Hold it near a water tap, metal radiator or doorknob.

Static electricityStatic elctricity and water

What can you see?

What you will see: You will produce a small spark. Amazing, isn't it?

Why: It's because by rubbing the comb, you charge it with electricity (static electricity). (The effect of the static electricity you can see even when you comb your hair, try to tuch the doorknob).

The spark is made when the charge jumps to the uncharged (or neutral) tap. In this case the neutral tamp is the water or the doorknob.
A spark is the passage of an electrical charge between two objects.

The example of the hudge static electricity in the nature is the lighting. Lightning is a huge electric spark that results when charges jump from one cloud to another or from a cloud to the ground.

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Can the electricity attract

You need: water, glass straw, piece of silk, comb, piece of wool (fur).

Step 1: Tum on the water faucet so that you get a fine, even stream of water.
Step 2: Rub a glass straw with a piece of silk. You can use and a comb with a piece of wool or fur.
Step 3: Hold the straw or comb near the stream of water.

Static electricity and water

So, what happen?

What you will see: The stream bends toward the charged glass or comb.

Why: The charged object attracts the neutral stream of water.

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How do the electricity produce magnetism

Is it possible without a magnet? Yes. The similar experiment you see above. Look bellow to see more new ideas. Please ask you parrents for help and assistance. Do not make it alone.

You need: iron filings, a strip of heavy copper wire, about 3-foot length of insulated bell wire, a dry cell battery, a compass. A flashing battery could be used instead of a dry cell - you can do it if you make a holder for it or strip off the outer cardboard.

Experiment 1:
Step 1: Connect the ends of the bare copper wire to the cell or battery as in illustration. See the picture bellow.
Step 2: Dip a loop of the wire into the iron filings.
Step 3: Quickly disconnect one end of the wire so that you don't wear out the battery.

Electricity and magnetism

What you will see: The iron filings stick to the wire. When you disconnect one end of the wire and stop the flow of electricity, the filings soon drop off.


Experiment 2:

Step 1: Scrape the covering from the ends of the 3-foot length of covered wire.
Step 2: Substitute this for the bare wire, arranging it so that one length is vertical, but don't attach one end.
Step 3: Place the compass at the side of the wire.
Step 4: Rearrange the battery and wires so that the needle is pointing toward the wire.
Step 5: Attach the loose end of the wire to the battery and note the results.
Step 6: Disconnect the wire at both ends, and reconnect them to the opposite posts, to reverse the direction of the electric current.
Step 7: Observe the needle.

 Battery power and magnetism

What you will see: The compass needle moves first in one direction and then, when the current is reversed, in the opposite direction.

Why: When electricity flows through a wire, the wire acts like a magnet and produces a magnetic field. The magnetism lasts only while the current is flowing. So the conclusion is that a ire carrying a current of electricity produces magnetism.

Can you imagine that his effect has been discovered by Oersted in1819.

*** A magnetic field is a field of force produced by moving electric charges, by electric fields that vary in time. The magnetic field can not be seen, but the diagram you can see bellow:

 Magnetic field

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Make and electric lamp

You need: two nails, thin iron wire, a ottle (or a jar), a cork (to fit the bottle), about 4 dry cell batteries (with a length of covered copper wire).

Step 1: Stick the two nails through the cork.
Step 2: Attach the iron wire to the nail points.
Step 3: Fit the cork into the neck of the bottle, allowing the nailheads to remain outside and the iron wire to go inside.
Step 4: With the covered wire, connect the dry cells to the heads of the nails, as shown in the illustration.

Homemade electric lamp 
What you will see: The thin iron wire gets hot enough to glow and you have made an electric lamp of the bottle. Soon, however, the iron wire gets so hot that it bums in the air of the bottle. The iron breaks and the lamp goes out.
Why: In our modem electric lamp, nitrogen (which doesn't supportburning) is substituted for the air within the bulb. Tungsten is used for the inner (filament) wire because this metal can get white hot and glow without melting. Since it requires less heat to make a thin wire glow, an extremely thin tungsten wire is used.

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What is difference between conductors and insulators

You need: a dry cell, a flashlight bulb, a socket, copper wire, a clip, fork, key, coin, piece of cloth, wood, glass, rubber band, leather heel, nails, pins, paper, chalk, isolated wire.

Step 1: Connect a dry cell to a flashlight bulb and socket, leaving two bare ends of copper wire.
Step 2: Briefly touch these ends together to make sure that the bulb lights.
Now you made a tester with which you can find out whether certain materials allow electricity to flow.
Step 3: Touch the two bare ends of wire to two points on any of the following objects you have available: a clip, fork, key, coin, piece of cloth, covered wire...

It will be interesting for you also to try a number of solutions: salted water, lemon juice, vinegar. Try it again with different type of wire (iron, aluminium...) (In that case you may need more than one battery to provide the current for these.)
Conductors and insulators - exaples

What you will see: Metals are generally good conductors and will light the bulb. But non-metals will not conduct electric current so the bulb will not light. (Such nonmetals are called "insulators.").
Solutions made with salts, acids or alkalies will conduct.
Notice that the various kinds of wire differ in effectiveness also. The lamp bums brightest with the copper wire.

Why: In producing static electricity, we used insulating materials such as glass and rubber which do not permit electricity to move freely.
These insulators are valuable in helping us keep electricity from going where it is not wanted. This is why we cover wire with rubber, cloth or thread.
Electricity will flow only if it makes the return trip to its source; it flows in a circuit. When we want electricity to move along a path, or circuit, weuse conductors.

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Electricity produces heat

You need: thin bare iron wire, thin strand of picture frame, a dry cell, a pencil.

Step 1: Use a short length of thin bare iron wire-one thin strand of picture frame wire will do. Step 2: Connect one end to a dry cell.
Step 3: Wrap the other end around a pencil and hold it to the other cell terminal.

Electricity produces heat
What you will see: The wire will get red hot and possibly even break if you don't disconnect it in time.

Why: Different kinds of wire act differently when electricity flows through them. The iron wire that we used in the experiment gets hot because it resists electric current. It does not conduct as well as copper or aluminum but instead changes the energy to heat. When the same current flows through two wires, the wire with the greater resistance to electricity gets hotter.

Thicker wire permits a larger current, for thin wire has more resistance than thick.

Similarly, a long wire allows less of the current being applied to how than a short wire does. Heating elements in toasters and irons are made of alloys with a higher resistance than the copper wire in the insulated cord.


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