An Amazingly Simple Science Device!
Holding hands in a circle has never been this electric!
The Energy Stick makes quite the “buzz” when you’re using it. To the untrained eye, it appears to be a plastic tube with a jumble of wires inside and two silver bands at each end. Well, those silver bands are actually electrodes. All the wires on the inside? They’re a solid state sensing circuit, tone generator, sound transducer, battery power supply, and LED lights. The perfect use for the Energy Stick is as a simple, yet fun, tool for learning about continuity and circuits. So… how do you turn it on?
It’s so sensitive that it can detect an incredibly small amount of electricity traveling across moisture on your skin from one silver ring to the other! It’s a completely safe, but totally cool, way to test circuits, learn about electrical conductors, and identify insulators that block electricity.
Electricity is nothing more than free electrons moving from atom to atom through a material. This flow is called a current. Currents go in one direction at a time, and can be given a very strong charge or a very weak charge. Something that allows a current to move through it freely is called a conductor. Good conductors include most metals such as copper, aluminum, iron, silver, gold, and lead, but there are others like water, mercury, and neon. If a material slows or even stops the current altogether, it offers resistance to the current and is called an insulator. Materials like glass, rubber, plastic, paper, cloth, and wood are very good insulators. However, if the charge is high enough, an insulator won’t stop the current. Not to worry about this with an Energy Stick in your hands.
Since your body is mostly water and there are water and minerals on your skin, your body can be a conductor, but a poor one. The weak current travels from one silver ring onto one hand and then across the surface of your skin to the other hand and onto the other silver ring. This complete loop is called a closed circuit and allows the Energy Stick to do its detection thing. Take a hand off a silver ring and you break or open the circuit and the current stops flowing to the Energy Stick. If the charge is big enough, the current can jump this gap and a bright, blue arc is the result. (but it won’t happen with an Energy Stick). Grab the silver ring once more and you make a complete circuit. That’s just what a switch on a wall does or a circuit breaker (or fuse) does in the breaker box on a house. It stops the current. Wow! Look at all you’ve discovered using a simple Energy Stick. So, if an Energy Stick is a circuit tester, what circuits can be tested?