What is static electricity

What is static electricity

What is static electricity

August 21, 2019


It breaks laptops, ruins hair and causes lightning.
Photo by Nikolay Gritsaenko

Nikolai Gritsaenko

What is static electricity



Where does static electricity come from

The world is made up of atoms. These are tiny particles from which our body is built, jeans on our feet, a seat in a car under the ass and a smartphone with Lifehacker on the screen.

Inside atoms there are smaller elements: a nucleus of protons and neutrons, as well as electrons that revolve around it. Protons are charged with a plus sign, electrons with a minus sign.

Usually an atom has the same number of such pluses and minuses, so it has zero charge. But sometimes electrons leave their orbits and are attracted to other atoms. Most often this occurs as a result of friction.

The movement of electrons from one atom to another creates an energy called electricity. If you direct it through a wire or other conductor, you get an electric current. You can clearly see his work when you charge your smartphone via cable.

Static electricity is different. It is “lazy”, does not flow and seems to be resting on the surface. An object has a positive charge when it lacks electrons, and a negative charge when they are in excess.

How does static electricity manifest itself?

1. Electrical discharge

Putting clean, dry wool socks on your feet and shuffling them on a nylon carpet can generate an electrical discharge.

During friction, electrons will jump from socks to carpet and vice versa. As a result, they will receive the opposite charge and will want to balance the number of electrons.

If the difference in their number is large enough, you will get a visible spark as soon as you touch your toes to the carpet again.

2. Pulling objects

If you comb your hair with a plastic comb, it will receive a charge of static electricity.

After that, she will begin to attract small pieces of paper, trying to get rid of the deficit or excess of electrons at their expense.

3. Repulsion of objects

If you rub a sheet of paper with a woolen scarf, it will receive a static charge.

When you try to fold the paper, the halves will start to repel each other precisely because of the electron imbalance.

Why static electricity can be dangerous

This phenomenon can lead to a number of dangerous consequences.

1. Ignition

Static electricity can cause a fire where flammable materials are used, such as in printing plants.

There is a lot of ink and paper in such production, which quickly light up. They rub against the equipment during printing, static electricity is generated, a spark appears and begins fire .

2. Production violations

Especially against static electricity suffer enterprises that produce plastics or textiles.

When these materials are positively or negatively charged, they can be attracted or repelled by the work surface.

This disrupts the production process, which is why businesses use air ionizers to help prevent the buildup of a charge.

3. Lightning strike

During the movement of air streams that are saturated with water vapor, static electricity occurs.

It creates thunderclouds with different charges that are discharged against each other or against the ozone layer. This is how lightning is made.

Lightning strikes tall buildings, trees, and the ground and causes damage to equipment.

How to avoid static electricity

1. Increase humidity

Dry indoor air is static electricity’s best friend. But it practically does not appear if the humidity exceeds 85%.

To increase this figure, regularly carry out wet cleaning and use humidifiers.

When the heating is turned on, a wet cloth can be placed on the radiator so that the water evaporates and makes the air less dry.

2. Use natural materials

Most natural materials retain moisture, synthetic materials do not. Therefore, the former are less susceptible to the occurrence of static electricity than the latter.

If you comb your hair with a plastic comb, they will receive a static charge and begin to scatter from each other, spoiling the hairstyle. This can be avoided by using wood accessories.

The same story with shoes with rubber soles. It provokes the creation of static electricity on the body. But insoles made of natural materials neutralize its effect.

Cotton T-shirts and clothing made from other natural fabrics do not generate static electricity. An artificial sweater is the opposite.

3. Use grounding

With it, static electricity can be diverted to the ground. This applies not only to lightning rods that redirect the lightning charge, but also to work with electrical equipment.

When a professional technician opens a laptop to clean it from dust, he always uses a special grounding cord attached to his arm – an antistatic wrist strap.

Antistatic wristband / aliexpress.com

It is needed to avoid the discharge of static electricity from the hands on the chips. Otherwise, it will damage them, and after a while the computer may fail.

Read also 🧐
  • 13 scientific facts that…






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *