How to make an Electroscope

How to make an Electroscope

How to make an Electroscope
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How to make an Electroscope

How to making of  an Electroscope : The electroscope is an easy-to-make device and should not be difficult to assemble for students who are motivated. They can use it to demonstrate the presence of an electrostatic charge in a comb, a balloon, or other charged object. As the charged object is brought near the upper end of the copper wire, the wire, being a conductor, become charged by induction and transfer the charge to the foil. The entire foil strip receives the some charge, and the two end repel each other.

The very thin foil stripped from a gum wrapper works for this activity than does heavier aluminum foil used in wrapping food.

Material Needed

  1. Bottle with cork stopper.
  2. Copper wire about 20 cm (8 in) long.
  3. Lightweight aluminum foil.
  4. Rubber comb.
  5. Wool cloth.


  1. Force the nail through the cork stopper to make a hole for the wire.
  2. Remove the insulation from both end of the wire.
  3. Insert the copper wire through the cork stopper.
  4. Bend the lower end of the wire (the end that will go inside the bottle) as illustrated in figure
How to make an Electroscope


How to make an Electroscope 

  1. Cut a strip of aluminum foil approximately ½ cm (1/4 in.) wide and 3 cm (1.25 in.) long.
  2. Fold the aluminum foil in half and let it hang over the end of the wire, as illustrated. Be sure all insulation is removed from the wire where the foil rests.
  3. Put the stopper on the bottle, being careful not to jar the strip of aluminum foil off the end of the wire.
  4. Rub the comb with the wool cloth and bring the comb near the top end of the wire. As you do this, observe the foil strip carefully.
  5. What happened? Can you explain why?
  6. Try the same thing with other charged objects.

For problem solvers:

Examine the electroscope and explain why it works the way it does. Share your explanation with at least one of your classmates. When you and your classmate can agree on the way the electroscope works, explain it to your teacher.

Try to make a new design of the electroscope. What are the critical parts? What purpose does the bottle serve? The stopper? The wire? The foil? Can you make something else work in place of any of these? Maybe some of these parts are not even needed at all. Test out your ideas.

SKILLS: Observing, inferring, classifying, predicting, communicating, comparing and contrasting, formulating hypotheses, identifying and controlling variables, experiment.

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