[Solved] How Do You Measure Static Electricity?

Now that we understand how a Coulomb meter works, it is easy to see why this instrument is awkward when measuring the charge on a continuous film 😊 To measure the charge, our film sample must fit inside the Faraday cup 😎 While I have often cut film samples to measure charge, I need to ask the operators to stop the converting operation to cut my samples. I often wonder if stopping the process changed the film charge so that my cut samples are not a very good measure of the charge on the film when the process is running. And, I need to handle the samples carefully so the charge that I measure is “process” charge rather than “handling” charge. [1]
Electrostatic charges can appear anywhere. They are produced by the friction between two materials and the resulting transfer or electrons. The material that emits the electrons is positively charged, while the material that absorbs the electrons is negatively charged. The electric fields generated can be measured and calculated by electrostatic meters. The charges may therefore have unpleasant effects. An example of this is the attraction of dust particles in electro statically charged objects. In the household, this often happens on television screens. In industry, this is a problem, in, for example, conventional varnishing, as the pieces must be dust-free for the varnish to adhere well and to avoid lumps. If an electrostatic charge is produced between two objects, the consequences can be very serious.Because of the short discharge time, and the small impact area, even in the case of tensions lower than 100V, electrical energy and elevated energy densities may be produced, enough to cause irreparable damage to delicate electronics. Therefore, in jobs with electronic components, an ESD protection is very important. The minimum equipment includes a diversion base with earth charge (ESD mat) and an earth charged bracelet. In case of an electrostatic beam discharge, when working with easily flammable materials, both fires and explosions can occur. When an electrostatic discharge occurs, an electrical impact is perceived only after approx 2000V. In the case of very high tensions, discharges can also have health consequences. But electrostatic charges are not only unpleasant and dangerous. In many areas, the attractions generated by these charges can be taken advantage of. This is the case in stickers or electrostatic labels, for example, when thanks to the charge; they are completely adhesive without glue. This effect is also used in electrostatic coverings. The material which is being varnished is electro statically charged and it can be applied to the object with a gun, which has an earth charge, and afterwards is dried by heat. Apart from a very smooth covering, approximately 30% of the material is saved. (we say thank you to Corrin Brewster from Pizhou, China for their response). [2]
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Our friends at amasci.com remarked how next, use a DC high-voltage power supply with a large current-limiting series resistor to charge your body to 5,000 volts. ( EXTREME DANGER! You MUST limit the current to below a few hundred microamps by using a series resistor chain. If you don’t know how to handle high-volt DC power supplies safely, then don’t mess with them. IF YOU DO THIS WRONG, IT CAN KILL YOU.) Wave your charged hand near the metal plate while seeing how far the oscilloscope trace deflects. Adjust the HV supply voltage until the deflection is about the same as when your body was charged by the rug-scuffing. Read the power-supply voltage setting, and you will know the approximate body-voltage produced by rug-scuffing. (last modified 32 days ago by Lanise Thayer from Longyan, China) [3]
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Nydia Rowell from sciencebuddies.org, describes how momontheroad – An ordinary multimeter cannot be used to measure static charge because the input impedence of the meter is too low. A static charge may have a very high voltage potential, but there are so few electrons involved that there is, in essence, no current (flow of electrons) capable. There are specialized electrometers available, but probably too expensive for a science project. Here is a link to an indicator that uses components that can be purchased for a few dollars that might be interesting. It uses a junction field effect transistor (JFET) and an LED to act as a visible readout. You could probably substitute your multimeter for the had led and use the multimeter’s DC current range (probably around 0-100 mA as a starter) to created a measurement device. In this circuit the JFET presents an extremely high impedence to the antenna which is detecting the high voltage ‘charge field’ which is amplified by the JFET which turns on and allows current to flow from the battery thru the had led or multimeter. Looks very simple, and I can’t vouch for the effectiveness, but no reason why it shouldn’t work. (emended by Gregory Ortiz from Ardabil, Iran on December 20, 2021) [4]
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Article References

  1. https://www.pffc-online.com/static-beat/8180-0401-measure-static-charge
  2. https://www.industrial-needs.com/measuring-instruments/electrostatic-meters.htm
  3. http://amasci.com/emotor/voltmeas.html
  4. https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/ask-an-expert/viewtopic.php?t=6324
Mehreen Alberts

Written by Mehreen Alberts

I'm a creative writer who has found the love of writing once more. I've been writing since I was five years old and it's what I want to do for the rest of my life. From topics that are close to my heart to everything else imaginable!

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