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Charging on physical contact and induction

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6) a) I placed several aluminum pie plates on top of the large metal sphere of the van de Graaff machine and then turned it on. After a few seconds the pie plates flew off. Explain why. Focus on physics involved.

b) When I placed packing peanuts in a pie plate they also flew off. Why? Can this be explained by the same physical mechanism as question a)? Explain.

c) A second smaller metal sphere was positioned nearby the van de Graaff machine. This sphere was grounded. Did this small sphere become charged? How and why? What was the interaction between the two spheres (attractive or repulsive)? Explain.

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a) The metallic sphere of the Van De Graaff generator has a very high +ve potential. An aluminium plate placed on it will come in direct physical contact with it and positively charged sphere will pull in some electrons from the plate making it deficient in electrons, hence positively charged. Positively charged plate will be repelled by the positively charged sphere. Hence, the plate(s) will be thrown off.

b) Packing peanuts ...

Solution Summary

Detailed explaination provided.