An object that levitates? Let’s discover the flying ring

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Today, we’ll show you a homemade trick that gets an object to… rise up in the air! In this case it will be a plastic ring that’s very easy to make from any plastic bag we have in the house. We’ll get it to float and move without touching it! We’ll control it as we please with a simple balloon and some static electricity. Coming along?

Materials:

  • A balloon
  • A plastic bag
  • A pair of scissors
  • A woollen garment or our own hair

Follow these steps:

  1. To make our flying ring, the first thing we do is place the plastic bag on a table or any other surface and flatten it out well. Once it’s laid out, we fold it along the length four times.
  2. Now we cut the lower part of the bag off; then we measure a width of two or three fingers from this edge and cut again. We take this strip and open it out: it will be our flying ring!
  3. Next, blow up a balloon and tie its end. And all we have to do to make our ring “fly” is rub the balloon a fair amount on a woollen garment or on our hair. Then we do the same with the outer part of the plastic ring. 
  4. Toss the plastic ring up into the air and turn the part of the balloon that we rubbed to face it. As we will observe, the ring and balloon will keep repelling each other and we get the impression that the ring is levitating.  

Why does this happen?

When you rub both objects with the wool or your hair, what we’re doing is filling them with a negative charge. Just like in magnets, the identical charge makes them repel each other. So, when you place the balloon below the ring, it pushes it upward and we get the plastic ring, which is very light, to rise and hover.

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