Legal note: this is
supposed to be a joke. Don't ever stick a fork (or any other
cutlery) in an electric outlet.
What is needed
- One cat or a piece of something fuzzy (you don't have to use a
cat; a Polarfleece jacket works nicely)
- A carpeted floor
What to do
- If your cat does not seem to mind being pushed around the
floor (NOT by the tail!) get him/her. (Note: please don't do
anything that upsets your cat! If the cat objects, STOP!)
- Find a carpeted room with room to move the cat around that is
also fairly dark.
- Turn off the lights and find the cat in the dark.
- Slowly begin to push/drag the cat slowly along the carpet on
his/her side. What happens?
- Try different speeds and see what happens.
- If you did not have a cat, try the above steps with your
What is happening
Cats, and other fuzzy objects, will build up static when drawn
across a carpet. You might see sparks flashing between the two!
Static forms because of this: when different materials (say, carpet
and cat fur) are in contact, one might have a greater liking for
electrons than the other. It will then pull electrons away. This
means that one material will end up with too many electrons, and the
other too little. By moving the cat across the carpet, you increase
the area of fur exposed to the carpet, and so you increase the charge
transferred until ZAP! Sparks fly!