Electrically Shocked by Metal? Exploring the Seebeck Effect

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In summary: However, it is plausible that a temperature difference might create an effect on surface area contact and cause more discharges to occur.
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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
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
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
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
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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Related to Electrically Shocked by Metal? Exploring the Seebeck Effect

1. What is the Seebeck effect?

The Seebeck effect is a phenomenon in which a temperature difference between two dissimilar conductors or semiconductors creates an electric potential. This effect was discovered by physicist Thomas Seebeck in 1821.

2. How does the Seebeck effect work?

The Seebeck effect occurs when there is a temperature difference between two conductors or semiconductors, causing a flow of electrons from the hot side to the cold side. This creates an electric potential, which can be measured as a voltage.

3. What is the practical application of the Seebeck effect?

The Seebeck effect is commonly used in thermocouples, which are devices that convert temperature differences into electrical signals. They are used for temperature measurement in various industries, such as manufacturing, automotive, and aerospace.

4. Can the Seebeck effect be reversed?

Yes, the Seebeck effect is reversible. This means that if an electric current is passed through a thermocouple, a temperature difference can be created between the two ends. This is known as the Peltier effect and is used in thermoelectric cooling devices.

5. Are there any safety concerns when working with the Seebeck effect?

While the Seebeck effect itself is not harmful, precautions should be taken when working with high temperatures and electricity. It is important to use proper protective gear and follow safety protocols when conducting experiments or working with devices that utilize the Seebeck effect.

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