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Electrostatic dust kicker

  1. Sep 16, 2007 #1
    What a great forum.

    I'm prototyping a small hand-held 110V tool. I need to add an electrostatic discharge function to it. We have all seen the "Ionic filter" devices at Sharper Image, where the plates will charge and attract dust. This is the opposite functionality - I need to push dust away.

    The discharge is needed to dislodge dust and other non-conductive debris that embeds in a filter screen. Just enough of a charge to kick dust and debris off of the surface of the screen. Can't use vacuum or any other method.

    - Is it possible to get this functionality in a small enough size for a hand-held power tool?

    - What are the best sources for electrostatic components?

    Thanking you in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2007 #2


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    Sounds difficult, once the dust has stuck to a surface the energy needed to unstick it is much greater than the very small energy needed to attract randomly floating dust in the air.
  4. Sep 17, 2007 #3
    Thanks mgb_phys. By difficult do you mean needing a gigantic bank of capacitors, or possibly small and hand-held? Or impossible?
  5. Sep 17, 2007 #4


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    Don't know - to charge something floating in the air you only need to induce a very small charge in something that is well insulated.
    If you charge a suface then presumably any dust on the surface will gain the same charge and should be repelled, the difficulty is in how it has stuck on.
    If it is dry and has no chemical affinity ( so it could be blown off with say a gentle breath) then it might be fairly easy, if it wet or has chemically bonded on then it might be impossible.

    Surfaces are sometimes charged to prvent dust landing but I haven't heard of a surface being cleaned by being charged.
  6. Apr 30, 2009 #5
    i've been reading the thread of your conversation around electrostatic dust and i'm actually trying to find a way to attract small dust particles in a household environment.
    i have no physics and no engineering skills whatsoever so this is all new to me, but what i am wanting to do is have a surface with a constant charge (in order that it always collect and continue to collect), so that small particles that come within its field will stay stuck to it.
    how do i do this??
    any help would be much appreciated.
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