Frequently Asked Questions About Static Electricity
Welcome to the Fraser Anti-Static Frequently Asked Questions section.
Fraser have over 25 years’ experience dealing with the elimination and generation of Static Electricity for industrial applications. While we can’t possibly hope to answer all your questions here, we have managed to compile some interesting general information relating to static electricity in manufacturing. If you would like to know more about a specific process or issue, please call or email.
Static electricity can most simply be described as an imbalance of the positive and negative ions on, or within the surface of a material. The reason it is referred to as Static electricity is because unlike AC (alternating Current) or DC (Direct Current) electricity which flows through conductors such as wires, this ionisation will remain on or in the material until it is either neutralised or drawn away by means of static discharge.
Static charges are created in numerous ways but essentially at an atomic level the activity involves a separation of protons and electrons. Most materials are normally electrically neutral and have an equal amount of both protons or positive charges and electrons which are negative charges. Electrons however are weakly bound and can be exchanged by materials.
The exchange of electrons on contact is often referred to as the triboelectric effect which as a term describes contact induced charge separation. The triboelectric process has long been understood and was documented as early as 1757 when John Carl Wilcke first published a paper on static charges listing what became known as the Triboelectric Series.
There is also Piezoelectricity or the development of a static charge through mechanical stress or pressure.
Pyroelectricity which describes the ability of certain materials to generate static when they are heated or cooled.
Electrostatic Induction which is charge induced electron separation and is also known as electrostatic influence. Simply put this refers to the redistribution of an electrical charge on an object being caused by the proximity and influence of other charges.
Electrostatic Induction is of particular interest in a manufacturing context because it is this which drives the attraction of light non-conductive objects such as dust, additional material waste, paper and styrafoam as well as in many cases the attraction of products to packaging and processing lines.