33.4 MB (1.0 MB compressed)
4140 x 2818 pixels
35.1 x 23.9 cm ⏐ 13.8 x 9.4 in (300dpi)
CHARLES D. WINTERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHARLES D. WINTERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Demonstration of static electricity, 1 of 2. Static electricity refers to the buildup of electric charge on the surface of objects. The static charges remain on an object until they either bleed off to ground or are quickly neutralized by a discharge. Although charge exchange can happen whenever any two surfaces come into contact and separate, a static charge will only remain when at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electrical flow (an electrical insulator). The effects of static electricity are familiar to most people because we can see, feel and even hear the spark as the excess charge is neutralized when brought close to a large electrical conductor (for example a path to ground), or a region with an excess charge of the opposite polarity (positive or negative). The familiar phenomenon of a static 'shock' is caused by the neutralization of charge.
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