3 Types of Static – How Static is Generated

Static, everyone loathes it except for those kids that like to run around shocking their friends. This phenomenon affects not only everyday life with things like frizzy hair and that annoying zap you get when someone touches you but also industry. But what is static and how is it generated?

Static is generated on the atomic level from the exchange of valance electrons on each surface. The energy produced from the friction causes those valance electrons to enter an excited state; when in this excited state they begin to jump back and forth from atom to atom. When this happens, the atoms begin to accumulate either a positive charge if the atom lost electrons or a negative charge if the atom gained electrons.

As the charge accumulates on the surface where the friction occurs if a ground source (i.e., a piece of metal or a person) comes in close proximity to the charged surface an arc is generated between the two surfaces transferring the build-up of electrons and returning the charged surfaces to a neutral state.

But how can these surfaces become charged in the first place?

The most common and well-known way is via friction. Friction generation is when two surfaces rub against each other causing the static to build up on the surfaces. The energy from the two objects being pushed together and rubbing up against each other causes the electrons within the atoms to enter an excited state. When these electrons are in this excited state the valence electrons will jump from atom to another atom; this causes one atom to become positively charged (lost the electron) and the other to become negatively charged (gained the electron). The harder the two surfaces are pushed together and the faster they are rubbed together the more static will be generated.

A second type of static generation is contact static build up, which is when a charge that is built up when two surfaces impact each other and then separate. Much like friction static generation, contact static build up generates the charge on the surfaces from the kinetic energy of the impact. The material of the two objects in question will determine how many electrons are transferred from surface to surface based on the properties of the atoms in the material (Electronegativity, Ionization Energy, and Electron Affinity).

Contact Static Generation

The third type of static generation is detachment static build up. Detachment static build up once again relies on the kinetic energy and the properties of the atoms in the material. When the two surfaces are pulled apart the electrons that are transferring from one molecule to another get stuck with the molecules of one surface, which leaves both surfaces charged. This is seen a lot with plastic protective covers like the ones that come on a new window pane.

Static generation via detachment

No matter how the static is generated EXAIR’s line of Static Eliminators including EXAIR’s New Intellistat that can neutralize a 1000V charge in under one second. Don’t let static cause issues for your production facility, contact EXAIR for a solution. 

Static Eliminators

If you have any questions about compressed air systems or want more information on any of EXAIR’s products, give us a call, we have a team of Application Engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Static Elimination for Sensitive Processes, Laboratories, and Clean Environments

Introducing the Intellistat® Ion Air Gun!

Are you looking for fast and efficient static elimination in a convenient, compact product? Look no further than EXAIR Corporation’s brand-new Intellistat Ion Air Gun designed for use in laboratories, electronics manufacturing and testing, clean environments and sensitive processes:

If you have any questions about the Intellistat Ion Air Gun, our other Static Eliminator solutions, or any of our engineered compressed air products, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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EXAIR Displays Benefits of Ion Air Gun Static Eliminators

EXAIR manufactures a range of Static Eliminator products that are all efficient, effective, and easy to use…none more so than the Gen4 Ion Air Gun. Consider:

  • It’s “plug and play,” all the way.  Connect the cable to the Power Supply, and hook it up to your compressed air system, and you’re ready to go.
  • It’s efficient and quiet.  The high velocity jet entrains an enormous amount of air from the surrounding environment, where it’s ionized and ready to eliminate static charge quickly and effectively.
  • Instant static dissipation, at your fingertips (literally) – squeeze the trigger to blow ionized air, anywhere you want (well, within the reach of the 10 foot cable, anyway.)

Model 8493 Gen4 Ion Air Gun Kit comes with everything you need, right out of the box. Just add compressed air.

Again, the Gen4 Ion Air Gun is just one of our Static Eliminator products.  How do you know if it’s the right one?  The selection of many EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products comes down to the size & shape of the air flow that will solve the application.  Static Eliminators are no different.

  • If you need to treat a large surface, you might be looking for a Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife.  They come in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet long, and blow a laminar, even curtain of ionized air that’s extremely effective and fast at static elimination, even at very low supply pressures.
  • Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipes blow a 360° ionized airstream for pipes, cables, extruded shapes, etc.
  • Gen4 Ion Air Cannons and Gen4 Ion Air Jets are made to mount in place, and blow a focused, conical flow of ionized air.

If you’ve got large areas, multiple surfaces, or complex geometries to contend with, one (or an array) of these products might be the solution.  For a simple, straightforward, hand held static elimination solution, though, it just doesn’t get any easier than the EXAIR Gen4 Ion Air Gun.  Call me to find out how you can get one today.

***Order any qualifying EXAIR Static Eliminator by February 28, 2019, and we will include a FREE AC Sensor.  Click here for details.***

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Video Tutorial on Cleaning the Gen4 Static Eliminator

It has been over two years since EXAIR first brought our Gen4 Static Eliminators to market with improved performance, materials and durability.  The new design features continue to provide our customers with reliable, rugged and problem solving static eliminators.

More recently our Gen4 product line was completed by integrating these same beneficial features in the Gen4 Ionizing Bars, Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives, and Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knives.

There are two common ways that a Static Eliminator will start to underperform; contamination buildup and point degradation.  To create ions from a metal point, a high voltage is needed.  With 5,000 volts forcing its way into a confined area, the energy behind making an ion creates a corona field.  Any contamination near or around that point will produce a small amount of charred material.  The more contamination in the surrounding area, the faster the buildup will occur. Once a sharp point is coated, the ion production begins to decrease.

The other issue is with metal point degradation.  With the cycle of heating and cooling, the material will start to lose the sharpness of the point over time.  Like a wick used in a candle, you lose a little bit each time.  For both methods above, once the point sharpness is reduced, the dissipation time to remove static starts to increase.

For any “forensics” analysis with the Static Eliminators, you should have a model 7905 Static Meter.  Besides viewing the ion points, the Static Meter can help determine the severity of the function of the ion points.  If cleaning is required, you can use a soft-bristled brush to remove any charred contamination from the point and the base area.  Make sure that the power is turned off before cleaning.  For resistor-based Static Eliminators, the metal ion pins are replaceable.  This is model 901188.  This added feature makes a cost-effective way to keeping the points sharp, and the Static Eliminators like new.  The video below shows how to clean and replace the ion points.

Contact any of our Application Engineers if you have any additional questions about cleaning, about a new application or about potential solutions to static related problems.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb