Triboelectric Effect

Static electricity is the result of a build-up of an electrical charge on the surface of an object.This charge results from friction between two materials causing the separation of positive and negative charges. Since the chemical properties of any atom are determined by the number of negatively charged electrons contained within the outer electron shell, it is the removal or addition of these that alters the polarity of any material. For example, materials with a  weakly bound outer shell of electrons often lose them to materials with sparsely filled outer shells. Since the desired state for all atoms is to  have a full outer shell the result of this exchange is termed the triboelectric effect.

The effects of static electricity can be observed in the weather as lightning, in the classroom with a balloon sticking to the ceiling, or simply in your hair and clothing sparking. In industrial applications it can be observed on conveyor belts, plastic fixtures, sanding and buffing operations, etc. Static electricity occurs on non-conductive materials because by definition a nonconductive material resists the flow of electrons. Thus the triboelectric effect is the only way they can regain their balance of electrons and only the atoms that come into contact with an atom of opposite charge will the exchange take place. Simple grounding will not work because in non-conductors, their atoms do not exchange electrons among themselves.

To remove a static charge, it is important then to understand that all surfaces of the product need to come into contact with opposite charged atom. EXAIR’s line of static eliminators impregnate a stream of air with both positively and negatively charged atoms that shower the surface of the product. The flow of ionized air not only will remove static electricity but will blow away debris.

For assistance with your static problems, give one of our application engineers a call.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer

Phone (513) 671-3322
Fax   (513) 671-3363

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