Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5
Return to Experiments Table of Contents
|Lightning and Inspiration Both Strike|
Why would lightning, a flow of electrons, tend to strike neutral objects like trees, buildings, or the earth? (Does the word “induction” sound familiar? See page 15.)
Is the barn destined to be struck by lightning? Not if the owners have installed
Did this idea or inspiration, just “strike” Franklin out of the blue? Probably not. You see, Franklin is also credited with discovering that lightning is really electricity By flying a kite in a storm, he induced a flash of lightning to flow along the string to the earth. (DON’T even think of attempting this experiment! Franklin was very fortunate he wasn’t killed. Others trying to duplicate his findings were!) The idea for the lightning rod resulted from his kite-flying experiment.
Science is the search for knowledge. Using that knowledge to better our lives is called technology. In this case, Franklin discovered a new fact: lightning is electricity. He then devised a practical application for it: the lightning rod.
See if you can draw the charges on the top of the barn in the picture above. Hint: Look at the charges on the cloud and remember induction.
(See a for the solution.)
Plenty of people knew that a charged
comb would attract neutral objects. But
only a few used that fact to filter air,
paint cars better, and reproduce paper
Design a machine that uses static electicity to perform a useful function. You now know the basics of static electricity. Just use the rules you discovered along with your imagination, and it should be a “snap.”