Hooked on science: Electric balloon

Friday, August 21, 2009

Did you know you can use a balloon to make a fluorescent bulb glow?

Materials

* Balloon

* Fluorescent bulb

Instructions

STEP 1: Blow up the balloon and tie it.

STEP 2: Turn off the lights and rapidly rub the balloon against the fluorescent bulb.

Explanation

When the balloon was rubbed against the fluorescent bulb a charge was created. This charged caused the gas in the bulb to get excited. The excited gas emitted ultraviolet light and then caused the phosphors, which coat the inside of the fluorescent bulb, to glow.

Jason Lindsey is a Science Outreach Educator with Hooked on Science. Check out his website "Hooked On Science" at hookedonscience.org for webcasts and experiments that might get you hooked on science. Send him your science questions at jlindsey@hookedonscience.org. More science experiments can be found at www.semissourian.com.

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