Without zinc plate

With zinc plate

As you can see in the images, in the first one I am using a plastic rod rubbed with my hair to attract the pieces of paper using induction. In the second one, I am using a pure zinc plate(extracted from a zinc-carbon battery) in the middle. I was hoping that the zinc would get charged by the plastic rod and by induction and then attract the pieces of paper, which unfortunately does not happen. Can anyone explain to me the reason why the pieces of paper are not attracted by the zinc plate in the second image?(Yes, the zinc plate was rubbed with steel wool to remove any oxide layers)


You must use plastic gloves because any charges are distributed on the zinc plate + your body + the ground if you are barefooted... So here the zinc could transport some of the electrostatic - charges present on the PVC. You may collect charged located on the plastic rod with the zinc and after catch paper. Make the experience ! And comeback with your findings!

See the wikipedia triboelectric effect page that list the affinity of products like oxydes (+) metal (neutral as the zinc) and PVC (-)... So if you rub the zinc, even isolate from your body, you should not detect + or - electrostatic charges.


| cite | improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ I unfortunately don't have any sort of gloves, I tried using a pair of pliers to hold the zinc plate above the pieces of paper and did not keep my food on the ground. The pieces of paper would still not get attracted. $\endgroup$ – Science_Weeb May 6 '19 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ So first you brush your plastic on your hair. The rod should charge negatively has mention in web.physics.ucsb.edu/~lecturedemonstrations/Composer/Pages/…. $\endgroup$ – Pierre Ghislain May 6 '19 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ Yes I do do that $\endgroup$ – Science_Weeb May 6 '19 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ Zinc has less affinity for negative charges than plastic. So it does not catch then, may be. Please read : web.physics.ucsb.edu/~lecturedemonstrations/Composer/Pages/… $\endgroup$ – Pierre Ghislain May 6 '19 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ But since it is induction and the plastic rod is negatively charged, the zinc should acquire positive charge. $\endgroup$ – Science_Weeb May 6 '19 at 9:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.