At the recent NW Summer IOP CPD we had a session called Tales from Talk Physics. It was great to talk about some of the ideas shared over the years.
One thing that came up was the Fun Fly Stick
I never realised how much this little mini VdG like device was. I would like to think all schools have a VdG, if not then this is a very cheap alternative.
The first thing I thought to try with the Fun Fly Stick was an activity on the IOPSPark website. The Attracting Can https://spark.iop.org/attracting-can
These are absolutely brilliant and cost effective devices. They are much quieter than a VdG and also much more consistent at working under all conditions.
If you’ve got one, then I highly recommend this PDF of experiment ideas by Professor Bunsen (this used to be on his website but he removed it when he stopped selling them). And also this video on Supercharging the Fun Fly Stick by Bruce Yeany.
I thought that the explanation for bendy water lay more in the tribo charging from the tap than the polar nature of the molecules? Water based influence machines were among the earliest types, originally discovered by accident I believe from experience with steam boilers.
Ive tried bending Water, washing up liquid and I think it was cylcohexane all out of burettes. Two of these are polar and one is not. The cylcohexane doesnt bend at all whereas the other two show signifcant bends, (chilled washing up liquid is really viscous and bends amazingly far!)