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Another source of static charge is the motion of fluids through a pipe or hose. If that fluid is flammable — such as gasoline — a spark from a sudden discharge could result in a fire or explosion. People who handle liquid fuels should take great care to avoid charge buildup and sudden discharge.

What kind of electricity is lightning?

In an interview, Daniel Marsh, professor of physics at Missouri Southern State University, warned that when putting gasoline in your car, you should always touch a metal part of the car after getting out to dissipate any charge that might have developed by sliding across the seat. Also, when buying gas for your lawn mower, you should always take the can out of your car and place it on the ground while filling it.

This dissipates the static charge continuously and keeps it from building up enough to create a spark.


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Moving gas and vapor can also generate static charge. The most familiar case of this is lightning.

Static Electricity and Lightning by Ron Kurtus - Physics Lessons: School for Champions

According to Martin A. They attached a key to the kite string, and the wet string conducted charge from the cloud to the key which gave off sparks when he touched it. Contrary to some versions of the legend, the kite was not struck by lightning. If it had been, the results could have been disastrous.

He became interested in studying electricity in Until then, most people thought that electrical effects were the result of mixing of two different electrical fluids. However, Franklin became convinced that there was only one single electric fluid and that objects could have an excess or deficiency of this fluid. Today, we know that the "fluid" was actually electrons, but those weren't discovered for about years.

Additionally, the concussion from the blast can cause traumatic internal injuries and permanent hearing loss, and the bright flash can cause temporary or permanent vision damage. As an example of the tremendous energy released in a lightning strike, Marsh told Live Science about his personal observation of a large oak tree that was literally split in half by high-pressure steam created by a lightning strike. If you are outdoors when a storm approaches, you should immediately seek shelter in a building or vehicle and avoid touching any metal.

How Static Electricity Can Damage Your Systems

While static electricity can be a nuisance or even a danger, as in the case of static cling or static shock, in other cases it can be quite useful. For instance, static charges can be induced by electrical current.

A voltage applied to capacitor creates a charge difference between the plates. If the capacitor is charged and the voltage is switched off, it can retain the charge for some time.


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Electronic equipment such as older CRT computer monitors and television sets contain large capacitors that can retain a charge with up to 25, volts, which can cause injury or death even after the device has been turned off for several days. Another way to create a useful static charge is with mechanical strain.

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Sparks can cause explosions. When flammable liquids like gasoline petrol are transferred from tankers to aircrafts static electricity poses a very serious hazard. Gasoline is an insulator. When it transferred from a tanker to an aircraft it rubs against the inside of the hose and builds up a lot of charge. This large amount of charge can form sparks and cause an explosion.

click here In storm clouds water droplets collide with dust particles, ionising radiations and each other. These collisions cause electrons to be knocked of the particles and accumulate in the cloud. The negative charges collect at the bottom of cloud and induce positive charges to accumulate on the ground.

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Eventually, the potential difference between the cloud and the ground become so great that the negative charges from the cloud are attracted towards the positive charges from the ground. When the two charges meet a flash of lightning is produced. Lightning bolts can heat up the air to temperatures hotter than the sun this causes the air around the bolt to expand explosively producing the sound we hear as thunder.