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# Feedback Comments on Static Electricity

by Ron Kurtus

A total of 686 comments and questions have been sent in. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

## List of next 10 letters

### Country

Electrostatic Induction Inducing static charges India

Basics of Static Electricity Experiment with Van de Graaff generator Canada

Basics of Static Electricity Why are TV screens dusty after a while? Tanzania

Static Cling Why does nylon crackle when I undress? Tanzania.

Reducing Static Electricity Shocks Husband gets shocks putting on t-shirt USA

Static Electricity Materials Do polyester clothes attract lightning? USA

Effect of Materials Protecting against sparks when filling a propane bottle USA

Effect of Materials Static electricity on wet skin India

Basics of Static Electricity Why does a fuel truck have a metal chain to the ground? Tanzania

Causes of Static Electricity Does a pacemaker cause static shocks? USA

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First 10 letters

## Inducing static charges

Topic: Electrostatic Induction

### Question

November 7, 2014

How can we induce static charge on plastic or on any diamagnetic substance ?
Can alpha or beta particles induce static charge ?

Henish - India

25510

### Answer

By rubbing certain materials together, you can induce a static charge. See Effect of Materials on Static Electricity for a list.

An alpha particle is a Helium nucleus. It has a double positive (+) charge. However, it is usually a result of a radioactive decay.

Beta particles are electrons. They are certainly part of static electricity. Beta particles hitting a television screen induce static electricity on the screen,

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## Experiment with Van de Graaff generator

Topic: Basics of Static Electricity

### Question

October 13, 2014

This is a question regarding static electricity. here is my theory question scenario: Take a van de graff ball, and attached a long insulator to either case 1 the ball (positive charge) or case 2 the lower electrode (negative charge). With either case if I took the insulator and submerged into water (with the generator still running to generate charge) would the static charge remain on the insulator in any of the cases or would the water absorb the charge before there could be a build up of charge. I am not going to try this out that is why I am asking.

Thanks!

Owen - Canada

25446

### Answer

That sound like an interesting experiment. My thoughts on it are as follows:

An insulator can collect electrical charges on its surface like from a Van de Graaff generator, but it doesn't really conduct the charges like a metal wire would do. Pure water is also an insulator. Slightly salty water will conduct electricity.

If you submerged the insulator in water, and it had a collection of charges on its surface, most of the charges would probably be released into the water.

I don't think it would be dangerous to try this, since a Van de Graaf generator puts out high voltages but very low current.

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## Why are TV screens dusty after a while?

Topic: Basics of Static Electricity

### Question

September 17, 2014

why are TV screens dusty after a while?

mahamed - Tanzania

25361

### Answer

When the electrons from inside the TV screen hit the surface, they collect charges on the screen. Those charges will attract dust particles and cause them to stick. The newer LCD or flat panel screens do not have that much of a problem.

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## Why does nylon crackle when I undress?

Topic: Static Cling

### Question

September 17, 2014

why nylon cloths crackle as undressed?

mahamed - Tanzania.

25362

### Answer

When nylon rubs against the skin, it creates static electricity. The crackling you hear is caused by tiny static sparks coming from the nylon material.

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## Husband gets shocks putting on t-shirt

Topic: Reducing Static Electricity Shocks

### Question

September 2, 2014

Would an anti-static electricity release discharger work on my husband?? For some inexplicable reason his body is full of static electricity!! He cannot put on a cotton t-shirt without seeing sparks--it is VERY weird. There is no pain or actual shocks involved but he has eczema and he cannot wear the t-shirts!! We live on the beach in FL so I don't think it is a dry air issue even though our apt is air conditioned. We have wood and stone floors--no carpets. We are flummoxed! Any advice or explanations would be most appreciated.

linda - USA

25330

### Answer

The usual reason for often getting shocks is very dry skin. Your husband's eczema is probably a factor. However, I'm surprised that 100% cotton t-shirts would result in sparks.

The anti-static electricity release dischargers are relatively inexpensive, so it might be worth trying. Also, take a look at Controlling Static Cling to see ways to treat the t-shirts. It may help.

Best wishes on finding a solution to this annoying problem. Let me know how things turn out.

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## Do polyester clothes attract lightning?

Topic: Static Electricity Materials

### Question

August 30, 2014

Do polyester clothes attract the most dangerous and unpredictable positively charged lightning referred to as blue lightning?

Jerry - USA

25328

### Answer

The combination of polyester clothes rubbing on your skin creates a collection of electrical charges. I suppose if two people were standing in a field during a storm, the one wearing polyester clothes would be more apt to be struck by lightning than the person wearing cotton clothes. However, I don't believe there has ever been an experiment validating that, using non-human objects.

Lightning is very unpredictable and strikes often don't follow "the rules" or logic.

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## Protecting against sparks when filling a propane bottle

Topic: Effect of Materials

### Question

August 27, 2014

Hi. I am a hot air balloon pilot and coordinate a safety seminar yearly. I am interested in the article I found, Materials that Cause Static Electricity by Ron Kurtus. and it led me to your email.

Balloonists are very concerned with static electricity and sparks when we are refueling our propane tanks. On your list of items that gain electrons is leather. On the list that lose them is hard rubber. My interest is this: many, many pilots use leather gloves while refueling and the hoses are all of a rubber type. What is the potential for sparking with this combination?

Also, is there an easy way to demonstrate this to a group at a seminar?
Thank you for your help.

Dawn - USA

25325

### Answer

I don't think there would be enough static electricity generated by simply holding a rubber hose with a leather glove. The motion of the propane, as well as extraneous charges would be more of the hazard.

Just like gasoline trucks ground their hoses, that technique would probably be the best to use. In fact, both the hose and the person could be grounded.

See Controlling Static Electricity for some ideas and pictures.

I hope this helps with this safety concern.

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## Static electricity on wet skin

Topic: Effect of Materials

### Question

July 9, 2014

Dear, your article entitled "Materials that Cause Static Electricity" is very useful. I want to know that what would be the charge on normal and wet human skin? How wettability or dryness get affects the skin charge?

Basant - India

25100

### Answer

Water or wetness can reduce the effect of static electricity. A good example is how dry hair can get charged when being combed. But if the hair is wet or oily, the charges are not effective.

Since there are so many variables, there really aren't any numbers on the effect of wetness on the skin. However, it would be a good experiment to test and measure the difference in static electricity on dry and wet skin.

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## Why does a fuel truck have a metal chain to the ground?

Topic: Basics of Static Electricity

### Question

May 13, 2014

why a car with a tank carring petrol always hang a metal chain which is touching the ground?

mahamed - Tanzania

24953

### Answer

When the fuel in the tank moves around, it can create static electricity. The metal chain is used to drain off the electrical charges to the ground. Otherwise a spark might fly when someone tried to drain the fuel, resulting in an explosion.

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## Does a pacemaker cause static shocks?

Topic: Causes of Static Electricity

### Question

March 28, 2014

Does having a pacemaker cause you to have static schocks? I get really bad ones where sometimes I actually see sparks..
Thanks,
MA

Miriam - USA

24822

### Answer

The pacemaker should not cause shocks. However, if you are prone to getting static shocks, you need to make sure your pacemaker is not damaged by the sparks. Usually, they are well insulated.

Dry skin is one of the greatest causes of static sparks and shocks. Also, some polyester materials can cause static electricity.

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## Summary

Hopefully, this reader feedback has helped provide information about Static Electricity issues.

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