ISS Science Garage “knittin’ needle”
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ISS Science Garage “knittin’ needle”

[ Music ]>>Mike Massimino: Hi, I’m Mike.>>Don Pettit: I’m Don.>>Mike Massimino: And
this is theInternationalSpace Station…>>Don Pettit:…Science
Garage. [ Music ]>>Don Pettit: My
Russian hat that…>>Mike Massimino: Ok.>>Don Pettit: …a guy in
Red Square sold this to me…>>Mike Massimino: Ok.>>Don Pettit: And…but
it’s made out of fur; at least I think
it’s made out of fur.>>Mike Massimino: Mm-hmm.>>Don Pettit: And
you can rub this.>>Mike Massimino: Yeah.>>Don Pettit: And now the…>>Mike Massimino: So
now there’s a charge.>>Don Pettit: It’s charged.>>Mike Massimino: It’s charged.>>Don Pettit: It’s charged.>>Mike Massimino: So there’s
actually a force on that…>>Don Pettit: There’s
a force on that…>>Mike Massimino:
…we can’t see it.>>Don Pettit: No,
you can’t see it.>>Mike Massimino: Right. Alright.>>Don Pettit: But
if we take this…>>Mike Massimino: A
typical pepper grinder.>>Don Pettit: …a
pepper grinder.>>Mike Massimino: Yeah.>>Don Pettit: And we’re
going to…go ahead…>>Mike Massimino:
Can I do that?>>Don Pettit: …and
grind a little pepper.>>Mike Massimino: Are you going to tell me…would
you like some? Tell me when.>>Don Pettit: Oh
that’s plenty, thank you.>>Mike Massimino: Ok.>>Don Pettit: Ok now and
a little parmesan please?>>Mike Massimino:
How about some…how about some battery acid?>>Don Pettit: No, no, no, no; this isScience
[inaudible].>>Mike Massimino: Ok.>>Don Pettit: Ok, so I’m going
to charge in that needle…>>Mike Massimino: Yeah.>>Don Pettit: …and then
we hold that up there.>>Mike Massimino: That’s
pretty strong pepper. Oh, look at that; like magic.>>Don Pettit: Yeah.>>Mike Massimino: So the
pepper’s being attracted?>>Don Pettit: Yeah, some
of the pepper is attracted and it sticks to the needle. Some of the pepper is being
repelled and is pushed away.>>Mike Massimino: Interesting. And some of these
are positive and some of these are negative…>>Don Pettit: Yeah.>>Mike Massimino: …is
that what you’re saying; the pepper is positive
and negative?>>Don Pettit: Yeah, it
depends on something to do with the grinding
process, you know?>>Mike Massimino: Oh, ok. So it’s…>>Don Pettit: That’s a
subject for another topic.>>Mike Massimino:
It’s another show.>>Don Pettit: Well it’s
based…if a particle was just sitting out here without
a lot of velocity…>>Mike Massimino: Mm-hmm.>>Don Pettit: …it
would get attracted and it would just go straight to
the knitting needle and stick.>>Mike Massimino: Right.>>Don Pettit: Or it
might be repelled away…>>Mike Massimino: Right.>>Don Pettit: …depending
on whether it’s a positive or negative charge compared to
what the knitting needle has.>>Mike Massimino: But
the way the force works in space is different because
of the absence of gravity.>>Don Pettit: Correct.>>Mike Massimino:
There you have it. Thanks Don.

13 thoughts on “ISS Science Garage “knittin’ needle”

  1. used a plastic knitting needle, which may have affected how much charge it held. I wonder if a metal knitting needle would hold a stronger charge and attract more pepper?

  2. You would think that a metal knitting needle would hold a stronger charge than a plastic knitting needle, but that's not quite true. Static electricity is to do with the transfer of electrons between materials through contact, and plastic actually has a much higher tendency to lose electrons than metal does. If you want to learn some more about it, you can look up the "Triboelectric effect".

  3. Kinda makes since. Is that b/c metal. even AL is consistently a solid from start to finish, where as plastic is naturally a liquid turned to a metal state?

  4. "The absence of gravity" is not the correct term when speaking of the ISS due to the fact that there is still about 90% of the gravity there as there is on earths surface.

  5. I was amazed when I watched videos of Don's space experiments with water and saw the little droplet orbit the needle! 😀

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