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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Eliminate Static from Many Applications Using Super Ion Air Knives

By combining an Ionizing Bar with a Super Air Knife, the Super Ion Air Knife provides rapid static elimination AND blow off of any dust, chips, or debris that was being held to a surface by static electricity.  The laminar curtain of ionized air not only maximizes the rate of static removal, but is also ideal for stripping/sweeping away any debris which leaves a clean, static-free surface.  No more jamming, tearing, nuisance shocks to operators, dust attraction, or any of the many problems associated with static electricity.

The ionized air flow can be precisely regulated to whatever level it takes to get the job done.  At 100psig, the powerful, high velocity blast will dissipate 5,000 volts of static charge in 0.18 seconds!  If the material is fragile, or if that kind of air flow might disrupt the process, it’s not a big deal…even at 5psig supply pressure, that same 5,000 volts is dissipated in 0.40 seconds.  That’s how it works on the plastic roll above – with just a whisper of ionized air flow from a Super Ion Air Knife, they consistently reduce the resultant static charge to less than 400 volts…far below the threshold for the nuisance shocks they wanted to avoid.

Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Performance

They’re on the shelf in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet long, and we can make custom lengths in three days after receipt of an order.  The 115/230VAC Power Supplies are available with 2 or 4 outlets, to energize from 1 to 4 EXAIR GEN4 Static Eliminators.

Versatile. Efficient. Effective. Quiet. Safe.  And, readily available.  If you’d like to discuss a static problem, give us a call.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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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 Blog: Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Conversion

The video below provides details on the simple conversion to the new Gen4 style Super Ion Air Knife from the previous style or the addition of a Gen4 Ionizing Bar to an existing Super Air Knife to add static elimination to an existing blow off.

If you have questions about the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife or any of the 16 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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