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In one of Walter Lewin's famous lectures, he takes a small container almost completely filled with mineral oil and grass seeds (I'll keep looking for the video to link to it). He connects two electrodes to the container and the electric field that is produced polarizes the grass seeds, aligning them in the direction of the electric field lines. I had a few questions about this experiment as I am interested in reproducing it.

  1. What material should be used as the container?

  2. Does the type of oil matter?

  3. What voltage is required?

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electron.physics.buffalo.edu/demos/fieldlines.html should have your answers –  anna v Jan 27 '13 at 6:03
    
this is better physicsvideos.tripod.com/e-field-oil.pdf –  anna v Jan 27 '13 at 6:12
    
You can do this with iron filings and a magnet in oil as well. Looks beautifiul :) –  Manishearth Jan 27 '13 at 11:51
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Answers from this link:

What material should be used as the container?

Glass

Does the type of oil matter?

No. He uses different oils and different seeds in a petri dish.

What voltage is required?

Kilo-Volts. He shows a small Van De Graaff generator.

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