MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Is there a way to keep an object in a continuous state of static charge?

Date: Tue Mar 14 11:31:48 2000
Posted By: Denni Windrim, Staff, science, Sylvan Learning Centre
Area of science: Physics
ID: 952510636.Ph

You're right - this is a difficult question. Unfortunately, the battery idea 
is not likely to work, since there is a difference between static 
electricity and electrical current, which is what a battery 
produces.Electrical charges 'want to' neutralize, which is why you get 
zapped by doorknobs and other metal objects when you wear vinyl-soled shoes 
on carpet. A static buildup can be created by rubbing objects of differing 
compositions together. You may be familiar with what happens when rubber and 
fur are rubbed together - the old 'stick the balloon to the wall' trick, or 
an amber rod and rabbit's fur. One solution for you to try, if you have a 
brush with a plastic handle, is to rub the handle with a fur strip 
or equivalent just before the final brushing. Another solution would be to 
use a piezoelectric device, like the click-button barbeque starters, to 
generate a negative charge in the brush, though I'm not sure of the 
mechanics of rigging such a device. Good question, though - millions of pet 
owners would surely love the kind of device you decribe.

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