I was reviewing first posts here, and eating a juicy and salty (table salt) tomato at the same time. Suddenly, I realized that a few table salt crystals have been poured down on my mousepad.

I got curious and I rotated the laptop $90°$. I witnessed that the salt is somehow resisting to fall! Not sticked (very firmly attached) though, and the mousepad wasn't wet and didn't contain any possible chemicals that could cause the "attaching";

except that apparently the mousepad is "soaked" with the sebum produced by the tip of my fingers. Sebum, however, is a mixture of non-polar lipids such as fatty acids, triglycerides, sterols, sterol esters, wax esters and squalene. (See here also)

There can be another reason which lies in the electrical field that my laptop produces, and this could affect a compound like table salt that is primarily ionic. (No clue how, am I missing an easy chemistry concept?)

So, is there any possible "mild" (as in invisible) reaction, either chemical or physical, as a reason of the phenomenon? Or is this behavior because of the composition of table salt?

Note that I'm certain about the existence of such thing, though research showed nothing relevant in the Net.

  • $\begingroup$ Did you say the salt crystals fell off a tomato you were eating? Any chance moisture was from the tomato, perhaps adhered to the crystal, which subsequently 'stuck' to your mousepad? $\endgroup$
    – theo
    Jan 15, 2015 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ No @theo. it was the salt shaker's fault :). I'm 97.85% (:D) sure the salt crystals hadn't been in contact with the moisture of any kind. Seriously, they weren't or hadn't been in contact. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 15, 2015 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ the reason could be anything? can you reproduce the proble? or can you give to the experts for checkup? $\endgroup$
    – RE60K
    Jan 16, 2015 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


More than likely the case of your laptop became charged and was attracting the salt. Yes salt crystals can be coerced by an electrostatic field.

Here is a post on a teaching site that actually uses salt (and pepper) to demonstrate electrostatic attraction.



Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.