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The triboelectric effect (also known as triboelectric charging) is a type of contact electrification on which certain materials become electrically charged after they are separated from a different material with which they were in contact. Rubbing the two materials each with the other increases the contact between their surfaces, and hence the triboelectric effect. Rubbing glass with fur for example, or a plastic comb through the hair, can build up triboelectricity. Most everyday static electricity is triboelectric. The polarity and strength of the charges produced differ according to the materials, surface roughness, temperature, strain, and other properties.
Contact electrification was an erroneous scientific theory from the Enlightenment that attempted to account for all the sources of electric charge known at the time. It has since been superseded by more modern notions. In the late 18th century, scientists developed sensitive instruments for detecting 'electrification', otherwise known as electrostatic charge imbalance. The phenomenon of electrification by contact, or contact tension, was quickly discovered.
Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. There are two types of electric charges; positive and negative. Like charges repel and unlike attract. An object with an absence of net charge is referred to as neutral. Early knowledge of how charged substances interact is now called classical electrodynamics, and is still accurate for problems that do not require consideration of quantum effects.
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. Static electricity is named in contrast with current electricity, which flows through wires or other conductors and transmits energy.
The triboelectric effect is very unpredictable, and only broad generalizations can be made. Amber, for example, can acquire an electric charge by contact and separation (or friction) with a material like wool. This property was first recorded by Thales of Miletus. The word "electricity" is derived from William Gilbert's initial coinage, "electra", which originates in the Greek word for amber, ēlektron. The prefix tribo- (Greek for ‘rub’) refers to ‘friction’, as in tribology. Other examples of materials that can acquire a significant charge when rubbed together include glass rubbed with silk, and hard rubber rubbed with fur.
Amber is fossilized tree resin, which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is made into a variety of decorative objects. Amber is used in jewelry. It has also been used as a healing agent in folk medicine.
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and other animals, including cashmere and mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, from hide and fur clothing from bison, angora from rabbits, and other types of wool from camelids; additionally, the Highland and the Mangalica breeds of cattle and swine, respectively, possess wooly coats. Wool consists of protein together with a few percent lipids. In this regard it is chemically quite distinct from the more dominant textile, cotton, which is mainly cellulose.
A very familiar example could be the rubbing of a plastic pen on a sleeve of almost any typical material like cotton, wool, polyester, or blended fabric used in modern clothing. Such an electrified pen would readily attract and pick up pieces of paper less than a square centimeter when the pen approaches. Also such a pen will repel a similarly electrified pen. This repulsion is readily detectable in the sensitive set up of hanging both pens on threads and setting them nearby one another. Such experiments readily lead to the theory of two types of quantifiable electric charge one being effectively the negative of the other and a simple sum respecting signs gives the total charge. Note the electrostatic attraction of the charged plastic pen to neutral uncharged pieces of paper (for example) is due to temporary charge separation (electric polarisation or dipole moment) of electric charges within the paper (or perhaps alignments of permanent molecular or atomic electric dipoles). Note that a net force then arises as the slightly nearer charges of the dipole get attracted more strongly in the nonuniform field from the pen which diminishes with distance. In a uniform electric field for example inside parallel capacitor plates temporary polarisation would occur in the small pieces of paper but with zero net attraction.
The triboelectric effect is now considered to be related to the phenomenon of adhesion, where two materials composed of different molecules tend to stick together because of attraction between the different molecules.[ citation needed ] While adhesion is not a chemical bond between atoms, there is an exchange of electrons between the different types of molecules, resulting in an electrostatic attraction between the molecules that holds them together. Physical separation of materials that are adhered together results in friction between the materials. Because the electron transfer between molecules in the different materials is not immediately reversible, the excess electrons in one type of molecule remain left behind, while a deficit of electrons occurs in the other. Thus, a material can develop a positive or negative charge (see also static electricity) that dissipates after the materials separate.[ citation needed ]
Adhesion is the tendency of dissimilar particles or surfaces to cling to one another. The forces that cause adhesion and cohesion can be divided into several types. The intermolecular forces responsible for the function of various kinds of stickers and sticky tape fall into the categories of chemical adhesion, dispersive adhesion, and diffusive adhesion. In addition to the cumulative magnitudes of these intermolecular forces, there are also certain emergent mechanical effects.
|Most positively charged|
|Hair, oily skin|
|Nylon, dry skin|
|Paper (Small positive charge)|
|Wool (No charge)|
|Steel (No charge)|
|Wood (Small negative charge)|
|Styrene and polystyrene|
|Polyethylene (like Scotch tape)|
|Most negatively charged|
Johan Carl Wilcke published the first triboelectric series in a 1757 paper on static charges.Materials are often listed in order of the polarity of charge separation when they are touched with another object. A material towards the bottom of the series, when touched to a material near the top of the series, will acquire a more negative charge. The farther away two materials are from each other on the series, the greater the charge transferred. Materials near to each other on the series may not exchange any charge, or may even exchange the opposite of what is implied by the list. This can be caused by rubbing, by contaminants or oxides, or other variables. Lists vary somewhat as to the exact order of some materials, since the relative charge varies for nearby materials. From actual tests, there is little or no measurable difference in charge affinity between metals, probably because the rapid motion of conduction electrons cancels such differences.
An oxide is a chemical compound that contains at least one oxygen atom and one other element in its chemical formula. "Oxide" itself is the dianion of oxygen, an O2– atom. Metal oxides thus typically contain an anion of oxygen in the oxidation state of −2. Most of the Earth's crust consists of solid oxides, the result of elements being oxidized by the oxygen in air or in water. Hydrocarbon combustion affords the two principal carbon oxides: carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Even materials considered pure elements often develop an oxide coating. For example, aluminium foil develops a thin skin of Al2O3 (called a passivation layer) that protects the foil from further corrosion. Individual elements can often form multiple oxides, each containing different amounts of the element and oxygen. In some cases these are distinguished by specifying the number of atoms as in carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, and in other cases by specifying the element's oxidation number, as in iron(II) oxide and iron(III) oxide. Certain elements can form many different oxides, such as those of nitrogen.
Although the part 'tribo-' comes from the Greek for "rubbing", τρίβω (τριβή: friction), the two materials only need to come into contact for electrons to be exchanged. After coming into contact, a chemical bond is formed between parts of the two surfaces, called adhesion, and charges move from one material to the other to equalize their electrochemical potential. This is what creates the net charge imbalance between the objects. When separated, some of the bonded atoms have a tendency to keep extra electrons, and some a tendency to give them away, though the imbalance will be partially destroyed by tunneling or electrical breakdown (usually corona discharge). In addition, some materials may exchange ions of differing mobility, or exchange charged fragments of larger molecules.
In electrochemistry, the electrochemical potential, μ, sometimes abbreviated to ECP, is a thermodynamic measure of chemical potential that does not omit the energy contribution of electrostatics. Electrochemical potential is expressed in the unit of J/mol.
Electrical breakdown or dielectric breakdown is when current flows through an electrical insulator when the voltage applied across it exceeds the breakdown voltage. This results in the insulator becoming electrically conductive. Electrical breakdown may be a momentary event, or may lead to a continuous arc if protective devices fail to interrupt the current in a power circuit.
A corona discharge is an electrical discharge brought on by the ionization of a fluid such as air surrounding a conductor that is electrically charged. Spontaneous corona discharges occur naturally in high-voltage systems unless care is taken to limit the electric field strength. A corona will occur when the strength of the electric field around a conductor is high enough to form a conductive region, but not high enough to cause electrical breakdown or arcing to nearby objects. It is often seen as a bluish glow in the air adjacent to pointed metal conductors carrying high voltages, and emits light by the same property as a gas discharge lamp.
The triboelectric effect is related to friction only because they both involve adhesion. However, the effect is greatly enhanced by rubbing the materials together, as they touch and separate many times.
For surfaces with differing geometry, rubbing may also lead to heating of protrusions, causing pyroelectric charge separation which may add to the existing contact electrification, or which may oppose the existing polarity. Surface nano-effects are not well understood, and the atomic force microscope has enabled rapid progress in this field of physics.
Because the surface of the material is now electrically charged, either negatively or positively, any contact with an uncharged conductive object or with an object having substantially different charge may cause an electrical discharge of the built-up static electricity: a spark. A person simply walking across a carpet, removing a nylon[ citation needed ] shirt or rubbing against a car seat can also create a potential difference of many thousands of volts, which is enough to cause a spark one millimeter long or more.
Electrostatic discharge may not be evident in humid climates because surface condensation normally prevents triboelectric charging, while increased humidity increases the electrical conductivity of the air.
Electrostatic discharges (other than lightning which comes from triboelectric charging of ice and water droplets within clouds) cause minimal harm because the energy (1/ V 2 C) of the spark is very small, being typically several tens of micro joules in cold dry weather, and much less than that in humid conditions; however, such sparks can ignite flammable vapors (see risks and counter-measures). This is not the case when the capacitance of one of the objects is very large.
Aircraft flying in weather will develop a static charge from air friction on the airframe. The static can be discharged with static dischargers or static wicks.
NASA follows what they call the "Triboelectrification Rule" whereby they will cancel a launch if the launch vehicle is predicted to pass through certain types of clouds. Flying through high-level clouds can generate "P-static" (P for precipitation), which can create static around the launch vehicle that will interfere with radio signals sent by or to the vehicle. This may prevent transmitting of telemetry to the ground or, if the need arises, sending a signal to the vehicle, particularly critical signals for the flight termination system. When a hold is put in place due to the triboelectrification rule, it remains until Space Wing and observer personnel, such as those in reconnaissance aircraft, indicate that the skies are clear.
The effect is of considerable industrial importance in terms of both safety and potential damage to manufactured goods. Static discharge is a particular hazard in grain elevators owing to the danger of a dust explosion. The spark produced is fully able to ignite flammable vapours, for example, petrol, ether fumes as well as methane gas. For bulk fuel deliveries and aircraft fueling a grounding connection is made between the vehicle and the receiving tank prior to opening the tanks. When fueling vehicles at a retail station touching metal on the car before opening the gas tank or touching the nozzle may decrease one's risk of static ignition of fuel vapors.[ citation needed ]
Means have to be provided to discharge static from carts which may carry volatile liquids, flammable gasses, or oxygen in hospitals. Even where only a small charge is produced, it can result in dust particles being attracted to the rubbed surface. In the case of textile manufacture this can lead to a permanent grimy mark where the cloth comes in contact with dust accumulations held by a static charge. Dust attraction may be reduced by treating insulating surfaces with an antistatic cleaning agent.
Some electronic devices, most notably CMOS integrated circuits and MOSFET transistors, can be accidentally destroyed by high-voltage static discharge. Such components are usually stored in a conductive foam for protection. Grounding oneself by touching the workbench, or using a special bracelet or anklet is standard practice while handling unconnected integrated circuits. Another way of dissipating charge is by using conducting materials such as carbon black loaded rubber mats in operating theatres, for example.
Devices containing sensitive components must be protected during normal use, installation, and disconnection, accomplished by designed-in protection at external connections where needed. Protection may be through the use of more robust devices or protective countermeasures at the device's external interfaces. These may be opto-isolators, less sensitive types of transistors, and static bypass devices such as metal oxide varistors.
Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion of matter that has a property of electric charge. In early days, electricity was considered as being not related to magnetism. Later on, many experimental results and the development of Maxwell's equations indicated that both electricity and magnetism are from a single phenomenon: electromagnetism. Various common phenomena are related to electricity, including lightning, static electricity, electric heating, electric discharges and many others.
A Van de Graaff generator is an electrostatic generator which uses a moving belt to accumulate electric charge on a hollow metal globe on the top of an insulated column, creating very high electric potentials. It produces very high voltage direct current (DC) electricity at low current levels. It was invented by American physicist Robert J. Van de Graaff in 1929. The potential difference achieved by modern Van de Graaff generators can be as much as 5 megavolts. A tabletop version can produce on the order of 100,000 volts and can store enough energy to produce a visible spark. Small Van de Graaff machines are produced for entertainment, and for physics education to teach electrostatics; larger ones are displayed in some science museums.
Electrical phenomena are commonplace and unusual events that can be observed and that illuminate the principles of the physics of electricity and are explained by them. Electrical phenomena are a somewhat arbitrary division of electromagnetic phenomena.
Electromotive force, abbreviated emf, is the electrical intensity or "pressure" developed by a source of electrical energy such as a battery or generator. A device that converts other forms of energy into electrical energy provides an emf as its output.
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects caused by contact, an electrical short, or dielectric breakdown. A buildup of static electricity can be caused by tribocharging or by electrostatic induction. The ESD occurs when differently-charged objects are brought close together or when the dielectric between them breaks down, often creating a visible spark.
An electrophorus or electrophore is a simple manual capacitive electrostatic generator used to produce electrostatic charge via the process of electrostatic induction. A first version of it was invented in 1762 by Swedish professor Johan Carl Wilcke, but Italian scientist Alessandro Volta improved and popularized the device in 1775, and is sometimes erroneously credited with its invention. The word electrophorus was coined by Volta from the Greek ήλεκτρον ('elektron'), and ϕέρω ('phero'), meaning 'electricity bearer'.
Electrostatics is a branch of physics that studies electric charges at rest.
Lichtenberg figures, or "Lichtenberg dust figures", are branching electric discharges that sometimes appear on the surface or in the interior of insulating materials. Lichtenberg figures are often associated with the progressive deterioration of high voltage components and equipment. The study of planar Lichtenberg figures along insulating surfaces and 3D electrical trees within insulating materials often provides engineers with valuable insights for improving the long-term reliability of high voltage equipment. Lichtenberg figures are now known to occur on or within solids, liquids, and gases during electrical breakdown.
Electrostatic induction, also known as "electrostatic influence" or simply "influence" in Europe and Latin America, is a redistribution of electric charge in an object, caused by the influence of nearby charges. In the presence of a charged body, an insulated conductor develops a positive charge on one end and a negative charge on the other end. Induction was discovered by British scientist John Canton in 1753 and Swedish professor Johan Carl Wilcke in 1762. Electrostatic generators, such as the Wimshurst machine, the Van de Graaff generator and the electrophorus, use this principle. Due to induction, the electrostatic potential (voltage) is constant at any point throughout a conductor. Electrostatic Induction is also responsible for the attraction of light nonconductive objects, such as balloons, paper or styrofoam scraps, to static electric charges. Electrostatic induction laws apply in dynamic situations as far as the quasistatic approximation is valid. Electrostatic induction should not be confused with Electromagnetic induction.
An electrostatic generator, or electrostatic machine, is an electromechanical generator that produces static electricity, or electricity at high voltage and low continuous current. The knowledge of static electricity dates back to the earliest civilizations, but for millennia it remained merely an interesting and mystifying phenomenon, without a theory to explain its behavior and often confused with magnetism. By the end of the 17th century, researchers had developed practical means of generating electricity by friction, but the development of electrostatic machines did not begin in earnest until the 18th century, when they became fundamental instruments in the studies about the new science of electricity. Electrostatic generators operate by using manual power to transform mechanical work into electric energy. Electrostatic generators develop electrostatic charges of opposite signs rendered to two conductors, using only electric forces, and work by using moving plates, drums, or belts to carry electric charge to a high potential electrode. The charge is generated by one of two methods: either the triboelectric effect (friction) or electrostatic induction.
An electric spark is an abrupt electrical discharge that occurs when a sufficiently high electric field creates an ionized, electrically conductive channel through a normally-insulating medium, often air or other gases or gas mixtures. Michael Faraday described this phenomenon as "the beautiful flash of light attending the discharge of common electricity".
Body capacitance is the physical property of the human body that has it act as a capacitor. Like any other electrically-conductive object, a human body can store electric charge if insulated. The actual amount of capacitance varies with the surroundings; it would be low when standing on top of a pole with nothing nearby, but high when leaning against an insulated, but grounded large metal surface, such as a household refrigerator, or a metal wall in a factory.
A Nanogenerator is a type of technology that converts mechanical/thermal energy as produced by small-scale physical change into electricity. A Nanogenerator has three typical approaches: piezoelectric, triboelectric, and pyroelectric nanogenerators. Both the piezoelectric and triboelectric nanogenerators can convert mechanical energy into electricity. However, pyroelectric nanogenerators can be used to harvest thermal energy from a time-dependent temperature fluctuation.
Faraday's ice pail experiment is a simple electrostatics experiment performed in 1843 by British scientist Michael Faraday that demonstrates the effect of electrostatic induction on a conducting container. For a container, Faraday used a metal pail made to hold ice, which gave the experiment its name. The experiment shows that an electric charge enclosed inside a conducting shell induces an equal charge on the shell, and that in an electrically conducting body, the charge resides entirely on the surface. It also demonstrates the principles behind electromagnetic shielding such as employed in the Faraday cage. The ice pail experiment was the first precise quantitative experiment on electrostatic charge. It is still used today in lecture demonstrations and physics laboratory courses to teach the principles of electrostatics.
Electrostatic discharge materials are plastics that reduce static electricity to protect electrostatic-sensitive devices (ESD) or contain flammable liquids or gases.