Q:

What causes static electricity in the body?

A:

Quick Answer

Static electricity occurs when the body builds up an imbalance of electrical charges. When an object moves against an insulating surface like carpet, weakly bound electrons can move from one surface to another, creating a charge. When that charged object touches a conductor, it releases the electrons, creating a spark.

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What causes static electricity in the body?
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Full Answer

Hair standing on end is a demonstration of static electricity. When a person rubs a balloon against her hair, it transfers electrons from the hair follicles to the balloon. This creates an electrical imbalance, and each hair strand becomes positively charged. Since like charges repel, each strand of hair is pushed away from the strands around it, causing the hair to stand on end.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Who discovered static electricity?

    A:

    The Greek philosopher Thales is said to be the first observer of the effects of static electricity based on the accounts of another Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Although historians assert that there is a lack of sufficient evidence to support Aristotle's claim, it demonstrated that ancient Greeks already had a basic understanding of electrical properties.

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  • Q:

    What is static electricity and how does it affect everyday life?

    A:

    Static electricity results from an imbalance between positive and negative charges in an object, according to the Library of Congress. It affects daily life in numerous ways, such as causing hair to rise when a person removes his hat as the electrons get transferred from the hat to the hair.

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  • Q:

    What are examples of static electricity?

    A:

    Walking across a carpeted floor and getting a shock when touching a door knob or other metal object is an example of static electricity. Clothes stuck to one another after being in the dryer is another example of static electricity.

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  • Q:

    Why is static electricity worse in the winter?

    A:

    In the winter, static electricity is worse due to a lack of air humidity, leading to a charge imbalance. In dry materials such as carpets, hair and nylon, there is a buildup of electrons that creates this charge imbalance, causing static electric to be more intense in winter's drier air. Basically, dry air is a poor conductor of electricity, while humid air is a better conductor that permits any excess electric charge to dissipate into the air.

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