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Define static electricit

The concept of static electricity

Static electricity is defined as one of the types of electricity that arise as a result of the accumulation of electric charges on the surface of a substance due to the rubbing and friction of two substances together, which leads to an imbalance of atoms in both substances.

Where both materials have an equal number of positive protons and negative electrons, and after their friction, the electrons move from one substance to become positively charged and are attracted to another substance that gives it a negative charge.

Define static electricity

History of the discovery of static electricity

Some ancient books indicate that the discovery of electricity dates back to the sixth century BC when people noticed that amber becomes charged by rubbing, and in 1660 AD, the scientist Otto von Guericke made a primitive tool for the production of static electricity made of a sulfur ball, which was developed by the scientist Francis Haxby then.

In the eighteenth century, two experiments were conducted to store static electricity, one in Holland, where it was conducted by the Dutch scientist Peter van Muschenbroek at the Dutch University of Leiden, and the other in Germany conducted by the German inventor Georg von Closet, and this static electricity experiment was named Leiden bottle after the university in which it was carried out.

The Leiden bottle experiment consists of a glass jar partially filled with water. This frictional charge is cut off, and when the wire is touched from its outer end, the body receives an electric shock caused by the electricity reduced in the water.

Practical applications of static electricity

One of the most famous applications of static electricity is the experiment of charging a rubber balloon by rubbing it with a woolen piece.

Which makes the balloon negatively charged because it has gained an additional number of electrons, and the woolen piece becomes positively charged as a result of losing a number of electrons, and then the balloon can be fixed on the wall because it is attracted to the positive particles in the wall.

It is mentioned that static electricity has many practical applications that can be benefited from, including the following:

  • Laser printing machines and copiers

The electrical charges attract the ink to the paper.

  • Spraying agricultural crops with pesticides

Static electricity helps the leaves of plants cling to the insecticide droplets and distribute them evenly on the leaves.

  • car paint

Static electricity is used to ensure that the paint reaches the chassis of the car while avoiding splashing on other surfaces.

  • air purification

Where dust and pollutants released from factory chimneys can be captured through static electricity, which contributes to reducing air pollution.

Static electricity is responsible for many natural phenomena in our lives, and here are some examples: 

  • After a person walks on a carpet, they may receive a small electric shock when they touch the door handle.
  • In the winter, a person happens to receive an electric shock when trying to close the car door after getting out of it.
  • An erection of the cat's fur when licked more than once.
  • The phenomenon of lightning during thunderstorms, where static electricity is mainly responsible for it, as in the science of atoms, static electricity gives particles their perfect balance through the forces of attraction and repulsion resulting from them, and the nervous responses in the human body of taste, smell, touch, and others are nothing but As a result of static electricity in the body.

The dangers of static electricity

Static electricity is one of the basic phenomena that has many benefits and practical applications, but at the same time it has many negative aspects that may cause many damages and accidents, and the following places the damage of static electricity:

  • The generation of an electric spark from static electricity in dangerous locations containing flammable materials and gases causes a fire or explosion.
  • Receiving a large electric shock when touching a certain object that stores a large charge of static electricity, resulting in physical damage; Such as the occurrence of severe burns or cardiac arrest and the death of the injured person when this large charge is discharged in his body.
  • The formation of a large electric charge from static electricity in aviation fuel as a result of its passage and friction with the fuel hose for long distances before reaching the engine, which may lead to the emergence of a spark, ignition of the fuel, and an explosion. Therefore, it is necessary to ground the fuel hoses in aircraft.
  • Some sensitive electronic devices are damaged when touched by a finger if the object carries an electrical charge of static electricity.

Studies on static electricity

In 2011, scientists found that the phenomenon of static electricity is not only a purely physical phenomenon that arises due to the transfer of electrons but can be a chemical phenomenon that arises due to the movement of ions during various chemical processes, as it may arise between materials of different polarity.

Where the transition here is not limited to electrons only, but goes beyond that to the transfer of a small part of the material, and thus the traditional idea of ​​static electricity changes to become more comprehensive, what was previously discovered is only a preliminary understanding and simplification of this phenomenon.


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