What a fun day to celebrate. As a kid, I used to shuffle across the carpet and shock my sisters. I don’t do that anymore – you could say that I am “ex”static… My kids bought me a new sweater for Christmas, I couldn’t get rid of the static no matter how hard I tried. The store gave me a new one – no charge… I was going to blog about the top 10 static electricity facts, but the first one shocked me, so I went another direction.
OK sorry for the bad jokes, but we have all experienced static electricity in one way or another, and I hope I put a smile on your face for this ‘current’ holiday. Many of us have pulled clothes form the laundry that were very clingy, rubbed a balloon on our clothes and stuck it to a wall, and have either been the kid in the picture above, or seen that reaction in person. But what is static electricity? In a nutshell it refers to an imbalance between positive and negative charges on the surface of non-conductive objects. But what does that really mean?
Let’s start by defining “static electricity”
1) Static- lacking in movement, action, or change.
2) Electricity – a form of energy resulting in the existence of charged particles such as protons or electrons.
3) Static electricity – a stationary electric charge. We will come back to that…
At the dinner table a couple of days ago, I asked my 7th grade daughter what she was learning in science. She said “matter” – I said “what’s a matter”… Ok, ok I will stop with the bad jokes (that really did happen though). She started telling me about how all objects are made from Atoms. Atoms are made up of protons, electrons and neutrons. I was shocked (again sorry) because I knew I was about to write about this exact subject.
Now to further her explanation of matter and make it more relevant to this blog, we will look a little deeper. Protons are positively charged; electrons are negatively charged and neutrons – well they are neutral. We could therefore say that all matter is made up of charges. We also know that opposites attract (negatives to positives) and like charges repel each other like the same side of a magnet. Most of the time these charges balance out and make an object neutral. But… static electricity occurs when these charges are out of balance.
This brings us back to our definition of “static electricity” – a stationary electric charge. When an object’s surface has more protons it is positively charged and when it has more electrons it is negatively charged, but either way that charge is not happy and it just sits there statically until something happens. When 2 or more non-conductive surfaces touch – the atoms start moving (think friction, shaking, rubbing) and attracting or repelling from each other creating charged particles or electricity… This “static” electricity is sitting there waiting, and searching for a way to discharge. This discharge can have a wide array of repercussions from a zap on the nose, pushing like charged particles away, sparking a nearby object, all the way to a lightning strike.
These atoms are not happy – they long to be neutral and stable. In order to calm down, they need to be become neutral. Each extra proton needs to find an electron and get married, find a house in the suburbs and live happily ever after. Then the world (or at least that surface) is happy again.
So far we have talked about simple day to day items that are effected by static electricity. But in industry static can cause major production and safety issues and can be a frustrating issue to solve. I’m sure you have all seen the effects of static electricity in the workplace, from dry winter days in the office, to the massive production problems. Some of the production and process problems static can create include products sticking together or pushing apart on the assembly line, products and packaging attracting debris, personnel getting shocked, sensors misreading, ink jet printing and sheet or web printing quality deteriorates and in extreme circumstances static can start fires.
There are several ways to eliminate static electricity. The best solution for you is very much dependent on your specific application. Adding moisture or humidity is one way, grounding the surface is another way. Remember that this static electricity is caused by the surface protons and electrons looking for their soul mate – they are unhappy, upset and looking to attract an opposite charged particle to make itself happy (neutral). EXAIR has a perfect solution. Our Gen 4 Ionizing products emit a plethora of both protons and electrons, flooding your surface area with an abundance of both. All (or nearly all) of your unhappy friends find a mate and Boom!! Bob’s your uncle – AKA, your static is neutralized.
Have a happy Static Electricity Day – please reach out to discuss our Ionizing products. I will be happy to discuss our ‘current’ prices, and you will not be ‘shocked’ by the results. I promise to give you a ‘no charge’ quote, and share with you ‘watts’ new.
In honor of this Holiday, we are offering a special promotion on these products through February 28, 2022, click here to shop our promotion.