Electric Charge and Static Electricity


The movement of the charged particles is responsible for electric energy. Energy obtained from the kinetic energy or potential energy of the charged particles is the electric energy. Charged particles are atoms, molecules, or ions with a charge. The force of attraction or repulsion between the charged particles ends on coulomb’s law. Electricity is an important form of energy. When there is a disturbance in the attractive force between the charged particles the atom gains or loses electrons. These free electrons are responsible for electricity through them. Electricity is the movement of electric charges.

What is a Static Electric Charge?

Generally, materials are made of atoms that are electrically neutral because of an equal number of protons and electrons. When two materials are brought together and made in contact with each other they share their electrons. That is, the electrons from one material are transferred from one material to another which forms a charge separation between them. There occurs a charge imbalance. The imbalance of charges within the material or between the materials is called static electricity. When a balloon is rubbed by a cloth it gets negatively charged as the electrons are included in the balloon. Thus the balloon sticks to the wall. This is due to the static charges induced in the balloon.

What is Current Electricity?

The materials having free electrons are only responsible for current electricity. In current electricity due to the flow of charge carriers doing work equal to the force applied. Here one kind of energy is converted into another kind of energy. For example current electricity is used for running a fan etc. There are two kinds of electricity. One is alternating current and direct current. The current flow is in both directions in alternating current. Current flows in only one direction are direct currents. If the bonding between the electrons is weak then they are called conductors. If the bonding between electrons is strong it means they are called insulators.

What are the Biological effects of exposure to Static Electricity?

The spark is discharged during the production of static electricity. This may affect humans. The effect of static electricity on the human body is quite harmful too. It may cause physiological or hygienic problems in humans. Sometimes the effect of static electricity may spike hair or skin follicles.

How do avoid Static Electricity?

  • Footwear that is in contact with the carpeted floor or some other material may produce static electricity and may feel an electric shock. Rubber is an insulator if it is rubbed with the carpeted floor it may produce a shock to avoid this it is better to wear leather instead of rubber.

  • Wool also produces static current when rubbed over fabrics as it is a conductor. So it is better to use cotton socks instead of using woolen socks.

  • Choice of cloth should be important to avoid static electricity. Because some fabric may produce static electricity if it is rubbed.

  • Anti-static wrist band is a very good remedy to avoid static electricity. Even Though the choice of clothes and footwear is important, using an anti-static wrist band is the smartest idea to overcome static electricity.

  • Dryer sheets are also a good remedy to avoid static electricity.

  • Moisturizing our skin before going out will help to avoid static shock in public.

Features of Static Electricity

  • Static electricity produces a constant electric field.

  • Imbalance between the positive and negative charges of the materials causes static electricity.

  • It can occur both in conductors and insulators.

  • Electric current is not continuous in static electricity.

  • Moisture affects static electricity. So generally static electricity occurs during the dry season.

  • The charges responsible for static electricity are at rest.

  • Lightning is a form of static electricity that happens when the air in the atmosphere rubs with the clouds. Static electricity does not cause a higher current except lightning.

  • The speed of static electricity is more or less equal to the speed of light. It measures thousands of volts.

Difference between static electricity and current electricity

Static Electricity Current Electricity
The separation of charged particles on the surface of the material causes static electricity. The flow of charged particles causes current electricity.
Both conductors and insulators are responsible for static electricity. Current electricity is possible only in conductors.
The movement of negatively charged particles from one material to another causes static electricity. The movement of electrons causes current electricity.
Magnetic fields are not produced during static electricity. Electric fields produce current electricity. As a result, there is an induced magnetic field.
Static field remains only for a short period. Current electricity remains for a long period.
Static electricity is measured by using a gold leaf electroscope. Current electricity is measured using analog meters and digital meters.
Lightning strokes and static charges formed due to the rubbing of the balloon by hair are some examples of static electricity.


Flows of charged particles are responsible for electricity. Static electricity is caused due to the separation of charged particles. The facts about static charges and the static electricity are discussed in this article. The biological effect of exposure to charged particles and how to avoid static electricity were also discussed. Features about static electricity and differences between static electricity and current electricity are also discussed.


Q1. What are the sources of electricity?

Ans. There are three main sources of electricity. They are listed below.

  • Fossil fuel is a naturally occurring material to produce electricity.

  • Nuclear power which in turn is a non-renewable resource produced by the radioactive element.

  • Renewable resources like biomass, geothermal, hydro solar, and wind.

Q2.What causes static electricity?

Ans. The contact between two materials by friction, high energy radiation, due to heat changes, and an intense electric field are the causes of static electricity.

Q3. Give some combination of materials that cause static electricity.

Ans. The combined form of some material produces static electricity. They are skin and polyester clothes, combing the hair and fur and plexiglass rods are some combinations that cause static electricity.

Q4. What is the Turboelectric effect?

Ans. When different types of materials are made into contact with each other there is a sharing of electrons. After they separated from each other one of the materials became electrically active and called contact electrification. The turboelectric effect is in the form of contact electrification.

Q5. What are the uses of static electricity nowadays?

Ans. Static electricity has wide applications nowadays. They are used in super capacitors, piezoelectric materials, laser printers, photocopiers, crystal microphones, and electrostatic spray paints and precipitators. Air fresheners also use static electricity. Police Tasers, electric fences, accelerators like cyclotrons, cathode ray tubes in TV, and oscilloscopes also use static electricity.