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What is static electricity
Static means not moving. Static electricity is an electrical charge that doesn’t move. All materials are made up of atoms. An atom is the smallest particle of a material that still contains the properties of the material. Each atom consists of a positively charged nucleus around which one or more negative electrons move. In an idle state, the positive charge of the nucleus is equal to the sum of the negative charge of the electrons moving around the same nucleus. Therefore the charge is neutral (see figure 1). If the nucleus loses or gains electrons, an imbalance is caused.
An atom that has lost one or more electrons then has a positive charge, and an atom that has gained one or more electrons has a negative charge and is called an ion (see figure 2). There are only two types of charge: positive and negative. Atoms with the same type of charge repel one another, while those with the opposite type of charge attract one another.
Static electricity is the result of an imbalance between negative and positive charges in an object. These charges can build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be released or discharged.
Static electricity is a surface phenomenon and is generated when two or more surfaces come into contact with one another and are separated again. This causes a sort of splitting, or a transfer of negative electrons from one atom to the other. The level of charge, (the field strength) is dependent on a number of factors: the material and its physical and electrical properties, temperature, humidity, pressure and speed of separation. The greater the pressure or the speed of separation, the greater the charge (see figure 3). The level of the charge, the field strength can be measured with a field meter, the FMX-004.
The level of static charge is higher during the winter months due to low humidity in the air. When the relative humidity is high, some materials can absorb moisture, as a result of which the surface can become semiconductive and let go of some of the charge. The static charge will then remain low or even disappear entirely as a result of the (semi)conductive surface. A number of materials are indicated in the tribo-electric series (see figure 4). As a result of friction, these materials will take on a positive or negative charge depending on where you can find them in the tribo-electric scale. The magnitude and polarity of the static electricity or static charge depend on the position in the series. More about the effects on static electricity and the question:
What is static electricity can be learned during this short podcast with our technical sales manager Bennie Bel. You can listen here or you can find the podcast on the most common podcast suppliers like on Spotify
Materials can be divided into two basic groups: conductors and insulators. In a conductor, the electrons can move around freely. In principle, a conductor that is arranged in an insulated way(not connected to ground/earth) can take on a static charge. This charge can easily be eliminated by connecting the conductor to earth (see figure 5). Non-conductive material can retain static charge for a long time, even having opposite polarities in different places on the same surface and right next to each other. The electrons cannot move around freely (hence static). This explains why materials are attracted (static cling) in some zones and repelled in others. This force of repelling and/or attracting can also be used for the benefit in different processes. An example is a label that is glued with the help of static electricity to a mould. Connecting these insulators to earth(grounding) does not work because the material has non-conductive properties (see figure 6). Only active ionisation with the aid of static eliminators offers a solution to this.
In production processes, static electricity can often be a severe process disruption(examples), as it means that materials get stuck to machine parts or to each other. Operators do not like getting electric or static shock. The dust in the surrounding area is attracted by the electric charge. In explosion hazardous zones, static charge can cause a spark, which in turn can cause a fire or even an explosion.
In production processes, static electricity can often be a severe process disruption(examples), as it means that materials get stuck to machine parts or to each other. Operators do not like getting electric or static shocks. The dust in the surrounding area is attracted by the electric charge. In explosionhazardous zones, static charge can cause a spark, which in turn can cause a fire or even an explosion.
Neutralising or eliminating the static electrical charge on nonconductors is carried out by means of active ionisation. Simco is world-renowned as a producer of ionisation equipment. The high-voltage-generator creates a high-voltage on points of this equipment, air molecules are split up into positive and negative ions. The static charge on the product attracts ions of the opposite polarity, therefore neutralising the material. Simco has a wide range of equipment to choose from depending on which type is the most suitable for certain production processes or applications. A selection of the right type of equipment is depending on many factors but mostly on the distance to the material that needs to be neutralized. However, static electricity can also be useful. Using high voltage, materials can be given a static charge so that they will stick to each other(static cling) temporarily, thus simplifying production processes. To put it simply, Simco produces equipment for measuring , eliminating and controlling static electricity. Through a unique concept, the IQ Easy Platform, up to thirty ionisation and charging devices can be connected in a network and allows full control over all parameters, fully prepared for industry 4.0 applications and integrations. All devices communicate with each other to optimize efficiency and provide optimal control. Simco-Ion has created a short video series about this topic that you can find on Youtube, a link to the first video can be found here.
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