TUESDAY DECEMBER 17 - DRY WEATHER MEANS STATIC ELECTRICITY


Winter is static electricity season because it's the driest time of the year. But this season, even more tiny sparks than usual are flying because the last few months have been unusually dry.

Static electricity originates at the atomic scale, where electrons carry negative electrical charge. When two things rub together, electrons can transfer from one to the other, creating a charge imbalance. That's what happens in a moisture-starved dryer as clothes tumble against each other. When the dry clothes are pulled out, tiny discharges of static electricity form. That's because clothes with excess charge cause sparks to clothes with a deficit. The same thing can happen between you and a car or a doorknob or between you and another person.

Rarely will you find this type of spark-inducing charge imbalance on humid days because water in the air freely conducts electrical charge, building up an excess of electrons is tougher to do. So you see, that's why static electricity is so much more prevalent on dry days.

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