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The Magic of Static Electricity

By Unknown - January 27, 2018

Static electricity is an imbalance of electric charges within or on the surface of a material. The charge remains until it is able to move away by means of an electric current or electrical discharge. Static electricity is named in contrast with current electricity, which flows through wires or other conductors and transmits energy.[1]
A static electric charge can be created whenever two surfaces contact and separate, and at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electric current (and is therefore an electrical insulator). The effects of static electricity are familiar to most people because people can feel, hear, and even see the spark as the excess charge is neutralized when brought close to a large electrical conductor (for example, a path to ground), or a region with an excess charge of the opposite polarity (positive or negative). The familiar phenomenon of a static shock–more specifically, an electrostatic discharge–is caused by the neutralization of charge.

Causes of static electricity

Materials are made of atoms that are normally electrically neutral because they contain equal numbers of positive charges (protons in their nuclei) and negative charges (electrons in "shells" surrounding the nucleus). The phenomenon of static electricity requires a separation of positive and negative charges. When two materials are in contact, electrons may move from one material to the other, which leaves an excess of positive charge on one material, and an equal negative charge on the other. When the materials are separated they retain this charge imbalance.

Applications of static electricity

Static electricity is commonly used in xerography, air filters (particularly electrostatic precipitators), automotive paints, photocopiers, paint sprayers, theaters, flooring in operating theaters, powder testing, printers, static bonding and aircraft refueling. (more...)

How does static electricity work?


Static electricity is the result of an imbalance between negative and positive charges in an object. These charges can build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be released or discharged. One way to discharge them is through a circuit.
The rubbing of certain materials against one another can transfer negative charges, or electrons. For example, if you rub your shoe on the carpet, your body collects extra electrons. The electrons cling to your body until they can be released. As you reach and touch your furry friend, you get a shock. Don't worry, it is only the surplus electrons being released from you to your unsuspecting pet.


And what about that "hair raising" experience? As you remove your hat, electrons are transferred from hat to hair, creating that interesting hairdo! Remember, objects with the same charge repel each other. Because they have the same charge, your hair will stand on end. Your hairs are simply trying to get as far away from each other as possible!
When you rub a balloon against your clothes and it sticks to the wall, you are adding a surplus of electrons (negative charges) to the surface of the balloon. The wall is now more positively charged than the balloon. As the two come in contact, the balloon will stick because of the rule that opposites attract (positive to negative).
 (more...)

Anything Smaller than Atom? (read more...)




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