High School Physics

Examples of static electricity in everyday life & sticking a balloon to the wall

In this post, we will discuss and list down different examples of static electricity in everyday life. Also, we will find how sticking a balloon to the wall is caused by static electricity.

Examples of static electricity in everyday life

Examples of static electricity in everyday life are:

  • Combing dry hair with a plastic comb and the hair stays attracted to the comb
  • A child’s hair sticking up after going down a plastic slide
  • Photocopiers use black powder to stick to white paper to create a copy of a document
  • Dust and dirt attracted to TV screens and computer monitors
  • Dust build-up on the edges of a fan
  • Clothes clinging to each other after being in a tumble dryer, especially those made of synthetic fabrics
  • Hair sticking up after pulling a hat off

Sticking a balloon to the wall – how?

One example of static electricity is sticking a balloon to the wall. Let’s see how this happens:

  • Rubbing a balloon on a woolen jumper transfers electrons onto the balloon by friction
  • The balloon is now negatively charged whilst the jumper is left positively charged
  • The wall is still neutral, however, when the balloon is placed near the wall, the positive charges in the wall are brought to the surface because they are attracted to the negative charge of the balloon
  • Since opposite charges attract, the balloon sticks to the wall from only the electrostatic attraction

Sparking – examples & cause

  • The build-up of electrostatic charge can be quite dangerous and can cause sparking (also known as an electric shock).
  • Say, two objects are charged by friction and they become oppositely charged. One object may have a surplus of electrons so large that the electrons ‘jump’ across to an object that is neutral.
  • Since a current is the flow of electrons, this causes a small current to flow between the objects, called a spark.
  • An example of sparking is the small electric shock felt from touching a door handle, or another person, after walking on a nylon carpet with rubber shoes or whilst wearing socks.
See also  Capacitance of parallel plate capacitor - formula derivation
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