Understanding Static Electricity

clip_58Just the other day a friend and I were walking through the Pro shop at a local golf course when he touched the door knob and got shocked by static electricity.

He turns to me and says,” Damn, I wish someone would explain that damn static electricity to me.”

So I did, and here is my explanation especially for my non-engineering friends . . .

Static electricity is an imbalance of electric charges within or on the surface of a material.

The charge remains until it is able to move away by means of an electric current or electrical discharge.

For modelling the effect of static discharge on sensitive electronic devices, a human being is represented as a capacitor of 100 picofarads, charged to a voltage of 4,000 to 35,000 volts.

When touching an object this energy is discharged in less than a microsecond:

Are you still having a little trouble understanding this?  If so, the next photo may help.

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