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
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If there are enough positive electrical charges on one object or material and enough negative charges on another, the attraction may be so great that the electrons will jump to the other object with out the two touching. After a few electrons make the jump, the air begins to heat up and causes more and more electrons to move and the air to get even hotter. This all happens so fast and causes the air to get so hot that it glows for a split second and is known as a spark. The same process occurs with lightning only on a much larger scale.
Removing or preventing a static charge can be very simple such as opening a window or using an air humidifier to “increase the moisture content of the air and make the atmosphere more conductive.” (Wikipedia) Items that are very sensitive to static discharge can be treated with an antistatic agent. Wikipedia defines an antistatic agent as something that “adds a conducting surface layer which ensures that any excess charge is evenly distributed.” An example of an antistatic agent is fabric softener or dryer sheets which are used in your laundry to prevent and remove static cling. “Semiconductor devices” which are used in electronics are very sensitive to static charge. These devices are protected using antistatic bags and those who work with these devices ground themselves by wearing