Can you stick a balloon to the wall without glue or tape?
This demonstration introduces students to the concept of static electricity and explores the science behind a common party "trick".
When you rub a balloon against your sleeve, your sleeve loses some electrons. The balloon ends up with extra electrons, making it negatively charged. When the negatively charged balloon approaches a wall, the negative charges in the wall are repelled (or pushed away). This leaves a positive charge on the wallboard at the spot where the balloon touches.
It is the attraction between the positively charged area of the wall and the negatively charged balloon that results in the balloon "sticking" to the board. Over time, electrons will transfer from the balloon to the wall, causing the balloon to become uncharged and fall to the floor.
Some materials lose electrons more easily than others. The more easily the material loses electrons, the better it will "charge up" the balloon.
Wool, cotton, and hair are the most effective materials to charge the balloons.