What causes static electricity?

Weather Whys

Ever wonder why we get so much static electricity in the Winter rather than the Summer?

When two objects that are poor electricity conductors rub together, which ever object has the looser bound electrons will shed them to the other object. This creates an imbalance. 

Lets use a real world example. When you walk the carpet, the rubbing motion between your feet and the carpet move electrons from you to the carpet…

Now the carpet is negatively charged and you are positively charged. This creates an imbalance. When you reach for a metal door handle, you get shocked. This creates the spark and is known as the static discharge. 

The electrons from the door knob are violently replenishing the electrons you lost in the carpet.  This is Mother Nature’s way of balancing things. 
 

The same thing happens with your clothes when they tumble in the dryer. They rub against the metal inside and collect electrons, becoming negatively charged. When worn, the negatively charged clothing will stick to you. You can use a static cling spray to neutralize the clothing and that takes the cling out. 

This exchange of neutrons happens all year round. It’s just more noticeable in the cold winter months due to the lack of moisture in the air. The more humidity, the easier and less dramatic the electrons will transfer. This is why you’re not combating static electricity at the lake in the Summer. 


Believe it or not, the Summer static electricity happens up in the sky, we see it all the time, it’s the lightning. 

Here are a few tips on reducing the static shock and cling: 

Reducing static electricity:
1. humidifier in the home
2. moisturize the skin
3. wear mostly cotton or wool clothing
4. anti-static spray
5. Touching a nonconductor like a wooden door before you touch the metal doorknob can help
reduce the shock, but the best way for prevention is to drain off all your charges by directly
touching the conductor with something in between you and the grounding item.

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