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Static Charge-Dangers of Static Charge

Aug 23, 2022
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Key Concepts

  • Electric Shock
  • Earthing
  • Lightning
  • Lightning Conductor

Introduction:

When charged and uncharged bodies are kept in contact, the electrons move from charged body to the uncharged body. This process is known as charging by conduction.

Explanation:

Making objects neutral or uncharged is known as discharging. We can discharge a body by grounding or earthing. If it is negatively charged, remove its electrons; if it is positively charged, add electrons to it. 

Symbol of grounding or earthing 

Electrical charges, electrons, and protons are abundant on the Earth. This vast reservoir neutralizes all charged particles, a process known as earthing or grounding. 

The sphere in the figure is charged negatively. When we connect it to the ground, an excess of electrons flows to the Earth, turning the sphere neutral. 

Earthing a negatively charged body 

The sphere in the figure is positively charged. Because positive charges cannot move, electrons with an equal number of excess positive charges must arrive at the sphere to neutralize it. The electrons from the ground are drawn to the sphere to make it neutral. 

parallel
Earthing a positively charged body 

Electric shock: 

Daily life example: You may have noticed that when you shuffle your feet across a carpet and if you then reach for a doorknob, a spark jumps and cause a small shock. The contact between the soles of your shoes and the carpet causes electrons to move from the carpet to you. An electron charge flows over your body and jumps from your hand to the doorknob as soon as your hand reaches close enough to the knob. This spark equalized the difference between the ratio of positive charges and negative charges.  

A discharge corrects an imbalance or difference in charge through the rapid movement of electrons.  

Rapid discharges are responsible for static shocks. 

Lightning: 

Lightning is the transmission of electricity from clouds to the Earth or from cloud to cloud. In simple terms, lightning is an electric spark that occurs in the sky on a large scale. 

Lightning
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Cause of lightning: 

Air currents travel upwards, and water droplets move downward during a thunderstorm. These movements occur at a rapid speed, resulting in charge separation in the clouds. Positive charges collect at the cloud’s top edges, while negative charges accumulate at the cloud’s bottom edges. 

parallel
Movement of air in clouds during a thunderstorm 

Negative charges at the bottom of clouds induce positive charges on the ground. 

Charged clouds and the ground

Under normal conditions, the air is a poor conductor of electricity. However, when the quantity of charge in the clouds reaches too high, the air is unable to hold on to it. 

Negative leaders extend from the clouds, and the positive streamers rise from the Earth. The negative and positive charges join and create a channel through which lightning strikes. The electric charge is therefore passed to the ground. This appears as a bright streak of light in the sky that lasts a few seconds. 

During lightning 

The danger of lightning: 

Structures and vegetation can be damaged by lightning. It is also capable of killing humans and animals. Lightning can sometimes take a person’s life. 

Lightning conductor: 

A lightning conductor is a basic device that protects a structure from lightning strikes. It is made of a vertical metallic rod with spikes on top. The metallic rod’s base is linked to a strong metallic plate that is buried deep into the Earth. This metallic wire acts as an earthing channel. 

 Lightning Conductor 

The electric charge is transferred to the lightning conductor and ultimately to the ground when lightning hits. As a result, a lightning conductor aids in preventing structural damage.

Summary

  • Law of conservation of charge:
    • The law of conservation of charge states that a charge can neither be created nor destroyed. However, it can be transferred from one body to another.
  • Transfer of charges: When charged and uncharged bodies are in contact the electrons move from charged body to the uncharged body. This process is known as conduction.
  • Making objects neutral or uncharged is known as discharging.
  • An electric spark is an abrupt electrical discharge.
  • A person gets an electric shodc when there is discharge to correct an imbalance of charges through the rapid movement of electrons through the person’s body.
  • Lightning:
    • Lightning is the transmission of electricity from clouds to the earth or from cloud to cloud. In simple terms, lightning is an electric spark that occurs in the sky on a large scale.
  • Lightning Conductor:
    • A lightning conductor is a basic device that protects a structure from lightning strikes.

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