Two girls space “electrified” throughout an experiment in ~ the Liberty Science center “Camp-in”, February 5, 2002. America’s Story, Library of Congress.

You are watching: Static electricity is an excess of atoms

Have you ever walked across the room to pet her dog, but got a shock instead? possibly you took her hat off on a dried winter’s day and had a “hair raising” experience! Or, probably you have made a balloon rod on the wall after rubbing it versus your clothes?

Why do these things happen? Is the magic? No, it’s not magic; it’s revolution electricity!

Before knowledge static electricity, we very first need to understand the basics of atoms and also magnetism.

Young man seated alongside a Holtz electrostatic affect machine, Dickinson College, 1889. Prints and Photographs Catalog, Library of Congress.

All physical objects are consisted of of atoms. Within an atom space protons, electrons and also neutrons. The protons room positively charged, the electrons room negatively charged, and also the neutrons room neutral.

Therefore, all points are made up of charges. The opposite charges attract each various other (negative to positive). Like charges repel each other (positive to optimistic or an unfavorable to negative). Most of the time positive and an adverse charges are balanced in one object, which provides that thing neutral.

Static electrical power is the result of an imbalance between negative and optimistic charges in an object. These charges can build up top top the surface of an object until they uncover a way to be exit or discharged. One way to discharge them is with a circuit.

group of young women researching static electricity in regular school, Washington, D.C. Frances Benjamin Johnston, photographer, c.1899. Prints & Photographs Division, Library the Congress

The rubbing of details materials versus one another can transfer an adverse charges, or electrons. For example, if you obstacle your shoes on the carpet, her body collection extra electrons. The electrons cling to her body until they have the right to be released. Together you reach and touch your furry friend, you get a shock. Don’t worry, the is just the surplus electrons being released from girlfriend to your unsuspecting pet.

And what about that “hair raising” experience? as you remove your hat, electrons are transferred from hat to hair, creating that interesting hairdo! Remember, objects through the very same charge repel every other. Due to the fact that they have the very same charge, her hair will stand top top end. Your hairs are merely trying to obtain as much away from each other as possible!

A naval uses a static discharge wand come discharge excess revolution electricity prior to attaching an M777 howitzer to a CH-53E supervisor Stallion helicopter during incorporated slingload training at marine Corps basic Camp Pendleton, April 12, 2017. Cpl. Open minded Cordoba, photographer. U.S. Room of Defense image Gallery

When you rub a balloon against your clothes and it sticks to the wall, girlfriend are adding a surplus of electrons (negative charges) to the surface of the balloon. The wall is now an ext positively charged 보다 the balloon. As the 2 come in contact, the balloon will stick because of the dominion that opposites attract (positive to negative).

See more: There Are Default Tab Stops Every One Inch On The Horizontal Ruler.

For an ext static electrical energy information and also experiments, watch the list of web Resources and also Further reading sections.

U.S. Navy worry powder flask, made out of brass come prevent any accidental ignition that powder as result of sparks or revolution electricity. Wilson’s Creek national Battlefield, 2010. U.S. National Park Service, NP Gallery