Controlling Static in Industry

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What is electrostatics?

Electrostatics is the study of static electricity. In many ways electrostatics has been a neglected science because static electricity has never been considered as useful as “current electricity”. This is changing in the industrial world partly because static electricity represents a costly problem in many areas of manufacturing, but also because static electricity can be used productively in new industrial methods and processes.

Generally there are two types of electricity – current electricity which flows through conductors and which is be used to power the machines and devices which support the modern world, and static electricity which is usually found on non-conductive materials and will not flow as current, which is called static electricity.

There are literally hundreds of well known examples of electrostatic phenomena from the classic balloon stuck to a wall or raising your hair, to the attraction of polystyrene balls or plastic wrapping when it is being torn from a package. Static electricity and static discharge is a well known contributor to fires and explosions, it can and does cause untold damage to electronic components, especially during manufacturing and is an integral part of photocopier and laser printing operations.

Coulomb's Law

For those not familiar with Charles-Augustin de Coulomb or why the study of electrostatics is in his debt, in 1785 he published the first of three reports in which he defined the law by which scientists could finally understand the forces at work in electrostatic interaction. 

Coulomb's law states that "the magnitude of the electrostatic force of interaction between two point charges is directly proportional to the scalar multiplication of the magnitudes of charges and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. The force is along the straight line joining them. If the two charges have the same sign, the electrostatic force between them is repulsive; if they have different signs, the force between them is attractive."

Roughly translated this means that the closer two charges are, the stronger the force between them.

The Coulomb (unit symbol: C) was then adopted as the international system of units (SI), unit of electric charge.


How can the study of Electrostatics benefit Industry?

Understanding and studying electrostatics has led to a number of important improvements and new cleaner processes in industrial manufacturing. The effective use and control of static electricity in a manufacturing process has improved safety, process speeds and efficiency as well as leading to new manufacturing methods which were previously impossible.

Fraser Anti-Static Techniques are pioneering the development of new and more effective methods of static control and static generation for industrial processes, helping our customers to stay one step ahead of the competition.

For further information on neutralising and using static electricity contact us today.