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Static Electricity

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Static Electricity

Everything is made up of tiny particles called atoms. The atoms are made up of even smaller parts called protons, electrons and neutrons. Protons have a positive charge (+), electrons have a negative charge (-) and neutrons have no charge at all, they are neutral. Atoms normally have the same amount of electrons and protons, making them neutral and having no charge. When rubbing things together, electrons can move from one atom to another, resulting in some atoms having extra electrons and a negative charge. The other atoms now have more protons than electrons and a positive charge. When the charges are separated, it is static electricity.

“Electricity is present in all matter in the form of electrons and protons. Any device that develops and maintains a voltage can be considered a voltage source. To accomplish this, the voltage source must remove electrons from one point and transfer electrons to a second point.” (Petruzella, 2001.) One type of electricity is static electricity. The term static means standing still which makes static electricity an electric charge that is at rest. Static electricity is defined as “an accumulation of electric charge on an insulated body.” (Free Dictionary) In other words, it is a charge that is created when two objects that are not good electrical conductors are rubbed together, and electrons from one of the object rub off onto the other object. Some of the results of static electricity may be sparks, shocks, or even materials clinging together.

The simplest way to form static electricity is by friction. Friction is simply the rubbing of one object against another. By rubbing two different materials together, “electrons may be forced out of their valence shells in one material and picked up in the shell of the other material. The material that gives up electrons more freely becomes positively charged and the one that gains electrons becomes negatively charged.” (Petruzella, 2001.) When the electrons...

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