Does static shock in the winter have the same principle as the Seebeck effect?

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  • #1
planck999
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Whenever I touch to a doorknob or any other metallic object I get electrically shocked. Does this occur because of temperature difference between me and the metal? Is it similar to seebeck effect?
 

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  • #2
Motore
138
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Does this happen to you mainly when it's cold outside?
The air is drier when the temperature is lower because in cold temperatures less moisture can be carried by the air. Which means static electricity cannot discharge that efficiently, hence more electrostatic shocks during winter (or autumn).
 
  • #3
James William Hall
Gold Member
12
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Yes it is similar to Seebeck. In each case conditions cause electrons to gather more on one side than the other and when there is a closed loop path, like you touching the doorknob, electrons will flow—the more electrons that flow the more shocking. Some people will say it’s “static electricity” but static electricity doesn’t actually do anything. It just sits there waiting. It is “current electricity” that is shocking. I am told there are numerous explanations of the foregoing from doing a Google search.
 
  • #4
sophiecentaur
Science Advisor
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Hmm. I would say it’s stretching things a bit to equate motion of charges due to thermal energy and charge separation due to mechanical energy.
The sparks in winter are due to the drastic reduction in the saturation of cold air when it warms up indoors. Those (insulating) conditions allow charges to build up when separated by friction and induction.
 
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  • #5
TonyStewartEE75
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The Seebeck effect can be attributed to two things:
Thermodynamic-chemical potential { electric charge-carrier diffusion and phonon drag.}
- It conducts from DC to a relatively slow response change in thermal difference to each side of different materials.

Electrostatic discharge
Is only caused by triboelectric friction of moving electrons freely liberated to receptor insulators that arc rapidly when the breakdown voltage to differing charge potential exceeds threshold after an ionization time.

It will discharge in pico to microseconds depending on the gap length (door knob to low clouds) and inductance L and charge level whose density lowers the positive ESR resistance while the incremental resistance is negative.

Therefore I see no similarity in current transfer mechanisms.
 
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