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Psychology and human behavior science fair project:
Do sock monsters really exist?

Project Information
Title: Do sock monsters really exist?
Subject: Psychology and human behavior / Electricity
Subcategory: Folklore / Static electricity
Grade level: Primary School - Grades K-3
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Awards: 2nd Place (Magna Cum Laude), Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair ($40)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair
Year: 2013
Materials: 10 pairs of socks, other laundry, washing machine, dryer, detergent
Concepts: Static electricity
Description: 10 pairs of socks were put into the washing machine with and without other laundry and then into a dryer. It was observed that when socks were mixed with other laundry some socks were stuck to other laundry and also were sticking to the drum of the washing machine. In conclusion, it is safe to say that sock monsters do not really exist and do not disappear. It was found however that some socks get lost inside other laundry during the washing process due to static electricity.
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2013/russ13i
Short Background

Static Electricity

Static electricity is an imbalance of electric charges within or on the surface of a material. The charge remains until it is able to move away by means of an electric current or electrical discharge. Static electricity is named in contrast with current electricity, which flows through wires or other conductors and transmits energy.

A static electric charge is created whenever two surfaces contact and separate, and at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electrical current (and is therefore an electrical insulator). The effects of static electricity are familiar to most people because people can feel, hear, and even see the spark as the excess charge is neutralized when brought close to a large electrical conductor (for example, a path to ground), or a region with an excess charge of the opposite polarity (positive or negative). The familiar phenomenon of a static shock–more specifically, an electrostatic discharge–is caused by the neutralization of charge.

Static electricity means the increase of electric charge on the surface of objects. This electric charge remains on an object until it either flows into the ground, or loses its charge quickly by a discharge. Charge exchange can happen in conditions like when different objects are rubbed and separated. A static charge will only remain when one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electrical flow. The effects of static electricity are familiar to most people because they can see, feel and even hear the spark. This spark happens when the excess charge is neutralized. This neutralization occurs when excess charge flows into an electrical conductor (for example a path to ground). Other charge flow occurs when a charged object is near a region with an excess charge of the opposite polarity (positive or negative). The familiar phenomenon of a static 'shock' is caused by the neutralization of charge.

In Greek age, Thales found static electricity when he was cleaning his amber. But at that time, they did not pay attention to this and research it. They just knew that rubbing something made a pulling force. Earnest research into static electricity was started in the 17th century, when Otto von Guericke made the first friction generator. And in the 18th century, Coulomb started research into a fixed quantity of static electricity. Benjamin Franklin associated static electricity with storms. In 1832 Michael Faraday published the results of his experiment on the identity of electricities. This report proved that the electricity made by using a magnet, voltaic electricity produced by a battery, and static electricity are all the same. Since Faraday's result, the history of static electricity can be thought as the study of electricity in general. It is one of many types of electricity.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_electricity

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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Last updated: June 2013
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