Water Bending

Some materials have a strong hold on their electrons while others do not. Materials with a weak hold will lose electrons and gain a positive static charge when rubbed with a different material that has a greater electron affinity. Thus, when you brush a plastic comb through your hair, the hair has a lower electron affinity that the comb, meaning the comb will develop a negative net static charge. Placing the negatively charged comb close to a running stream of water causes it to bend away from the comb. Within the covalent bond between oxygen and hydrogen atoms, the oxygen has a stronger pull on the shared electrons compared to the hydrogen. This results in the oxygen having the electrons slightly closer to its nucleus than to the hydrogen nucleus, giving it a slightly negative charge and the hydrogen atoms a slightly positive charge. When placing a negatively charged comb near a stream of water, the water molecules quickly realign so that the slightly positive oxygen faces the negative comb, thereby creating a static repulsion atmosphere. Thus, the water steam from the tap bends away from the comb by means of such dynamics.


Berris Bayer & Yasin Seker
Nile Academy, Toronto, ON
Honourable Mention (High School Individual Category)

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