Static Electricity – What is it?

Now that the air is cooling and the humidity is dropping, you may often experience the phenomena of static electricity, and the resultant shock when touching something metal. As a child, you may have learned about static electricity by rubbing a balloon on your head and then seeing it stick to the wall. What is the science behind static electricity?

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All materials are made up of atoms, which have a positively charged core called the nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons.  Each material is different, and in some types of materials the positive nucleus has a very strong pull on the electrons while in other materials the pull is very weak.  If we were to put a strong  pull material in contact with a weaker pull material, atoms from the weak pull material will migrate, and when the materials are separated, additional electrons will remain with the strong pull material.  Due to the overall increase in electron quantity, the material becomes negatively charged and the other material becomes positively charged. If the materials are rubbed together, the opportunities for the electron migration increases, and thus more electrons are exchanged.

Electrons build up more easily in dry conditions. When the air has humidity, static build up is less common because a very thin layer of water molecules coat most surfaces, which allows the electrons to move more freely and make most materials conductive and static free.

In some cases, static electricity can be a good thing – laser printers and photocopiers use static electricity to transfer ink from the drum to the paper.  Also, some power plants and chemical factories use static electricity  to remove pollutants in a process that takes place within the smokestack.

But generally when EXAIR gets involved, it is because the static electricity is causing an unwanted build up of static charge that affects a manufacturing process. The results of a static charge imbalance can result in a shock to an operator, materials sticking together, poor print quality, sensor or counter malfunctions, bad surface finish, or any number of other problems.

EXAIR offers systems for total static control, such as the Super Ion Air Knife and Ionizing Bars for wide applications such as paper, film and plastic webs, the Super Ion Air Wipe for narrow, continuously moving materials such as wire, tube, or extrusions.  Also offered are the handheld Ion Air Gun for use on three dimensional parts prior to assembly, packaging painting or finishing. Other options include the Ion Air Cannon for limited space or remote mounting applications, Ion Air Jet for tight spaces and concentrated airflow, and the Ionizing Point to provide close distance and accurate static removal.

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Super Ion Air Wipe

To discuss your static elimination concerns , feel free to contact EXAIR and one our  Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Spark Photo Credit – Eric Skiff – via Creative Commons License

Changing of the Seasons

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Fall Equinox and thus the end of summer occurs tomorrow, September 22, at 10:21 am EDT for us here in Cincinnati, OH.

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Just as the seasons change and the weather goes from warm, humid days to cooler, drier times, we see a change at EXAIR in what challenges our customers face. Telephone calls and online chat topics about overheating electrical enclosures and Cabinet Cooler Systems tend to drop off and invariably the topic of static issues and the EXAIR Static Eliminators solutions take their place.

EXAIR has many available solutions for total static control, whether on a moving web, sheet stock, or three dimensional parts, extrusions or plastics.

Static eliminators with air combine EXAIR engineered airflow products with an ionizing point to eliminate a static charge quickly and at great distances.  Laminar flow air streams make it possible to blow away dirt and debris, and deliver the ionized air to neutralize surface static.  They are ideal for hard to reach places and obstructed surfaces, high speed moving objects, and surfaces with extremely high charges. Some examples are the Super Ion Air Knife, Ion Air Cannon, Ion Air Gun, and the Ion Air Jet.

Static Eliminators

Static eliminators without air may be necessary when even small amounts of air can disrupt the product, such as light weight materials. EXAIR offers two types of ionizers to handle these types of applications.  The Ionizing Bar is ideal for flat materials when the bar can be mounted close to the media.  The Ionizing Point is a good solution for spot neutralization such as in winding or slitting operations where its compact size allows for installation close to the source of the static generation. Both of these products should be mounted within 2″ of the surface they are removing static.

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Ionizing Bar

When you notice static beginning to build in your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and one our  Application Engineers can help you determine which  Static Eliminator solution can help you.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

Sun and Earth Graphic courtesy of Ruslan via Creative Commons License

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