Physical Science

Amber and Attraction

I was wondering if someone could shed light on a question that I have. If amber is rubbed against wool, it presents attractive properties like a magnet. Amber is fossilized resin. My question is if any other resins were fossilized could they demonstrate attractive forces. If so, why? If not, why not?

Raymond Jones
Raymond Jones
740 Activity Points

Fossilized plant resins are all considered amber, I believe. Other resins (non-fossilized) that have hardened may also be able to pick up static charges. Amber, in a sense, can also be considered a plastic. Other plastics - like PVC - when rubbed with wool become negatively charged. You could have your students try a variety of materials and investigate which ones become charged and which ones do not.

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11925 Activity Points

I found some soft tissue fossilized items: Lagerstatic, Burgess Shale, Maotiashan Shales, and Mozon Creek. However, most of these are found in other countries. I could not find another one that compared to Amber.

Brenda Hornaday
Brenda Hornaday
760 Activity Points

Rubber is a processed plant "resin" aka sap. Rubber rod will charge when rubbed with silk

Ross Winberg
Ross Winberg
70 Activity Points

Yes. It has nothing to do with the fact that it is fossilized. It is electrostatics. Insulators like resin/plastic/rubber/glass/wool/fur/silk....... are easily "charged" by rubbing on other insulators because the charge moves from one place to another and does not distribute as it would on a conductor. Resin was one of the early products that philosophers and scientists used to demonstrate objects becoming "charged". You also discussed "magnetic" properties. It is not magnetic, it is electrostatic in nature. Electrons move from the wool to the resin. Objects charged the same repel each other, objects charged differently attract. The wool and the resin are now differently charged.

Daniel Carroll
Daniel Carroll
18550 Activity Points

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