What is Static Electricity? Have you ever tried picking small pieces of papers using a comb or a ruler scale? If not, try it out today. You will experience a magical magnetic power on your comb/scale. Why your scale act as a magnetic ruler or your comb act as a magnetic comb? That is all due to static electricity.
Well, what is static electricity? It is an electric charge which is stationary. And this electric charge is produced by friction. And when static electricity is produced, it can cause sparks or crackling or even the attraction.
Why this happens?
All objects are made up of atoms. Inside each atom there are protons (+ charge), electrons (- charge) and neutrons (neutral). The opposite charges attract each other while the like charges repel. In normal cases, the charges are balanced and maintain the object in neutral state.
To form static electricity it requires an imbalance of electric charges. This phenomenon occurs when positive or negative charges collect on an object’s surface. When two materials are in contact (like when you brush your hair with your comb), electrons may shift from one material to the other. This will cause an excess of positive charges on one material and an equally excess of negative charges on the other material.
As we discussed earlier, most matter maintains a neutral state. When we say neutral, it means the atoms and molecules have equal number of electrons as protons. Let’s assume that a material received extra electrons and attaches them on the outer shell of the atom. In that case, the material will have a negative charge (-). If it is protons instead of electrons, the material will have positive charge (+). The electric field from the excess of charges generates static electricity and shows the properties such as spark, attract/repulsion, etc. The very same thing happens when you rub a com or a scale against your hair. A certain combination of materials can give better results.
Static electricity is used in pollution control. Apply any static charges to dirt particles in the air and then collect this charged dirt particles on a plate or collector of the opposite electrical charge. Application of static electricity is also used in our xerox machine or photocopier to print a page. In automobile industry, static electric charges are used to paint cars.
If you think it is good to learn static electricity by experiencing it, try our static electricity project.