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Physics Electroscope Investigation Folio:

To construct a working electroscope that is able to react to a change in
charge, and can be charged through induction and/or conduction.

Once the electroscope has been made, the leaves, and or metal plates
inside will be able to easily show proof of charge by movement.


Glass jar with plastic or tin lid

Aluminium Foil
Common household adhesive such as Blue-tack or plasticine.
Conductive Metal Wire
Glass or Ebonite rods
Wool, silk, or nylon materials

1. Bend the wire with the pliers into a rod shape with a loop at one
end, and a hook at the other.
2. Poke a hole in the jar lid and thread the bent wire through the hole,
with the hooked end at the bottom side of the lid.
3. If the lid is made of a conductive material such as metal, separate
the wire from the lid with a thin layer of plasticine.
4. At the hooked end of the wire, bend a thin layer of aluminium foil
over the hook, to create a tent shape.
5. At the other end of the wire (the looped end) wrap the loop with
aluminium foil as a probe.
6. Place the lid back on the jar, with the hooked end inside the jar, and
the probe outside the jar.
7. Charge an ebonite rod by rubbing it on wool, and bring it near to the
probe and observe the movement of the aluminium leaves.


Once created; the electroscope it extremely useful, and can be used to

determine the presence of a charged object, the nature of that charge,
and the strength of said charge. An electroscope works by having a light
metal leaf move in response to the movement and charge of electrons.
This is due to the interaction of charged objects; like charges repel and
unlike charges attract.

The specific design that was used, was the same as stated how to build in
the method:


This diagram shows: the lid, probe, wires, aluminium leaves, and jar of the
electroscope. The probe, wires and aluminium leaves are conductive, so
can react to different charged objects, whereas the lid and jar are to
provide an enclosed environment for the movement to take place and
thus the reaction of charges

The electroscope is charged neutrally, with even amounts of electrons and
protons in order to maintain a constant charge. When a negatively
charged rod is brought close to the probe, the electrons in the wire, move
to the extremities of the metal leaves, in order to get away from the
charge of the rod. This means that the leaves are now negatively charged,
and move away from each other due to their identical charge.

Now that the leaves have been diverged, they can be neutralised by
touching the probe with a finger. This gives a path for the displaced
electrons to escape, and the electroscope becomes positively charged
through a lack of electrons. Because the electrons are no longer being
pushed to the extremities of the leaves, they go back to their resting
position. From this point, if the finger is removed, and then the charged

rod. The electroscope should maintain the positive charge and the leaves
will once again diverge because of a concentration of protons.
An electroscope can also be charged through conduction. Using the same
materials as induction: A charged rod is brought close to the probe, and
like with the induction experiment, the leaves diverge. But, if the rod is to
be touched on the probe, then the excess electrons of the rod are
transferred onto the leaves of the electroscope, and the device becomes
negatively charged.

This reaction is through a need for the electrons to be in balance

everywhere. So when the rod; charged negatively with excess electrons,
comes into contact with the probe. The electrons move from the
negatively charged rod, and spread out on the electroscope. This means
that, when the rod is brought away from the probe, the electroscope
leaves should still be diverged.

Once an electroscope is charged through conduction, it can be used to
determine the charge of whatever object charged it. This is because; when
an electroscope is charged through conduction, it takes the charge of the
object that charged it. Using a magnet, or another object with a known
charge, bring it close to the probe, and if the leaves move even further
apart, it is the same charge as the object which charged it. But if the
leaves go back to neutral, the object has opposite charge to whichever
object was used to charge the electroscope. This applies for both positive
and negatively charged objects.

When this was tested, it proved true, and the leaves did return to the
neutral state. This proved the presence of extra electrons, and from that,
the charge of the charging object.

If the experiment was to be repeated, one major improvement would be:

Changing the size and length of the aluminium leaves, this would provide
for better movement. And thus, easier viewing of results.