Where does static electricity come from?

Have you ever experienced a very slight electric shock when touching someone or while opening a door with a metal handle? If your answer is yes, then this electricity that you were exposed to is called “static electricity”; Therefore, we will learn about its origin, how it is generated, and the most prominent benefits.


Is defined as electricity as a phenomenon associated with static or moving electrical charges, as the electric charge is a property of some particles that are borne by elementary particles, and the appearance of electricity differs as a result of the accumulation or movement of the number of electrons, as the electron that carries a previously identified charge is the particle concerned with electricity, and the movement of Electric charges in the name of electric current, whose intensity is measured in ampere units, and electric current arises in any particle with moving charges, and electricity can be observed in nature in many forms such as lightning and many known reactions, and man has been able to enter electricity in most areas of life for use on a daily basis, and in What follows will be talked about the definition of static electricity.

Definition of static electricity.

Can be defined as an imbalance between electrical charges inside or on the surface of the material, where the charges remain constant until they are able to move away by electric current or electric discharge, and static electricity can be generated when two surfaces are touched and separated, where One of these two surfaces must be good resistance to electric current and this surface is known as an electrical insulator, and this type of electricity is very familiar to people as they can feel it and even see the spark for this electricity, and this type of electricity has been recognized since 600 Year BC, when it was discovered that rubbing amber can generate the ability to capture leaves and dust.

The reason for generating such electricity is due to the distribution of positive and negative charges on materials, as electrons move from one substance to another when they are in contact, leaving an excess positive charge on a substance, and an equal negative charge on the other side, and when these two materials are separated, the charges are preserved in the form Static electricity. It is possible to observe areas of static electricity use in many everyday applications.

The first to discover static electricity.

The ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Thales Miletus was the first to describe static electricity when he noticed that when two pieces of amber and cloth rub against each other, small dust particles would be attracted to it.

This was in the sixth century BC, but he was unable to solve the main question here, which is where does this static electricity come from?

About three hundred years later, another philosopher, Theophrastus, came and completed the work of Thales, but he tried the same experiment on different things like different types of stone, and he got the same result of Thales.

After him, scientists did not stop describing static electricity, but rather searched a lot to find the answer to the basic question:How could contact with two different surfaces generate this static spark?

How does static electricity occur?

Electrons accumulate in our bodies and spread through the skin until we get a very high charge. If we touch something metal, the high charge is transferred from the body to the metal, which results in an electric spark.

That is, this phenomenon occurs when those charges jump from an object with a high amount of charges to another body with less charges.

Methods of generating static electricity.

1. Kneading method.

Electric charges can be obtained through this method. Where, for example, we can get: –

▪️ Negative electric charges from rubbing the ebonite stalk with fur, where the electrons from the fur are separated to go to the stalk of ebonite to become negatively charged.

▪️ Positive electric charges from rubbing the glass leg with silk, as electrons from the glass separate and go to the silk, so the glass becomes positively charged.

2.The contact method.

by touching a charged object with another that is not charged, then the electric charges are transferred to it from the charged body, and the type of charge of the object that was finally charged will be the same as the type of charge of the object that charged it (the one with which it is in contact).

3. Method of induction.

This is as in the following experiment:

Tools: – a conductive and insulated ball, a wire, a pre-charged body (not to be a positive charge, for example).

the work :-We bring the charged body closer to the ball without touching it, so the negative charges of the ball approach the charged body (attraction), and the positive charges of the ball move away on the second side, away from the charged body (repulsion).

We connect the ball with a wire to the ground (with the effecting body remaining), then the negative charges move from the ground to the conductive ball, and the negative charge remains on the ball as a result of the attraction between it and the positively charged previously.

Uses of static electricity.

in our daily life The phenomenon of electricity is used in many aspects of daily life, as this:

▪️ phenomenon interferes with the manufacture of cameras. That mainly depends on the rays of light that are reflected on the paper being photographed. The image is formed as a result of the rays forming an image with the same positive charges found in the imaging machine. It is completed when the negatively charged ink is attracted to the positively charged paper.

▪️ Lightning. is also one of the natural phenomena that mainly depend on the phenomenon of static electricity.

Physicists claim that raindrops that contain wind contain positive charges. And other parts contain negative charges, and as a result of charge transfer between clouds, lightning occurs.

▪️ Car painting. is also a process that depends on the phenomenon of static electricity. The used paint is charged with electric charges, and when the paint is applied to the car, an attraction occurs between the charges on it and the charges on the paint. Specifically, the opposite charges present on the car, and the successful coating process depends on the extent of the attraction between the charges.

▪️ Static electricity. is used in power plants, especially coal-fired plants. Static electricity is used to collect harmful particles from chimneys, to be disposed of instead of being left stranded in the air.

▪️ Electrostatic capacitors. also enter static electricity, as they store electrical charges using static electricity. Thus, the capacitor can be used in many applications instead of non-rechargeable batteries.

Ways to avoid static electricity.

Static shock is usually associated with wearing insulating plastic shoes or walking on an insulating plastic carpet or an insulating floor that does not allow the movement of charges between your body and the ground, which leads to their gathering in your body.

And now your body is carrying extra charges, and you touch something that is a strong conductor of electricity such as a metal door handle or water or a metal fence, then the charges will travel quickly, causing shock.

On the other hand, if you touch something with a weak electrical conductivity such as a wood or a concrete wall, the charge transfer will be slower, so there will be no shock.

To prevent electrical shock, you should try changing the carpeting in the room, for example, or using leather shoes, not from insulating plastic, and you can hold a metal key, and touch the shopping cart with it, so that the shipments are discharged through the key, not with your finger.

Also, if you feel a thunderbolt when you get out of the car, you recommend touching the metal car door frame when exiting, or touching the car windshield.

References :

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