Q:

What are examples of static electricity?

A:

Quick Answer

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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Full Answer

Static electricity is essentially the electric charge of a surface or material being out of balance. Everything is made up of atoms and atoms contain protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons have a positive charge, electrons a negative charge and neutrons are neutral meaning they have no charge. When two objects are rubbed against one another, electrons can transfer from one object to another. This builds up static electricity.

If a person wearing a wool hat removes the hat, her hair becomes electrically charged. The wool rubs against the hair when the hat is removed, transferring electrons from the person's hair to the hat. This leaves the hair positively charged. With electricity, opposites attract, and things that have the same charge repel. The positively charged hair stands on end and sticks up because it is repelled by the other positively charged hairs on the head. The more rubbing between two objects, the more static electricity build up and the larger the electrical charge.

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Related Questions

  • 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:

    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 causes static electricity?

    A:

    Static electricity is caused when objects or particles make contact and either gain or lose electrons due to friction, and the charged object discharges into a nearby object. Rubbing objects together increases the contact area. Examples of static electricity include touching a doorknob in cold weather and receiving a shock.

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  • Q:

    How do I eliminate static electricity in my house?

    A:

    There are several methods that reduce the static electricity buildup in the home including adding moisture to the air through a home humidifier, adding moisture to the skin through lotions, and choosing less static-enhancing clothes. During the winter months, the drier air inside the house allows static electricity charges to build up.

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