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Leather belts

  1. Feb 8, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Explain why large sparks are often seen jumping from leather belts driving machinery.

    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution

    I know metal chains are off trucks to stop electric static but I'm not sure why leather. Is leather a conductor?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2009 #2

    mgb_phys

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    No, now trying rubbing a something insulating against say a polyester fleece.
     
  4. Feb 8, 2009 #3
    Electrons move and you feel a shock. Is that the same with the belt. It is moving along metal so the electrons are being transferred which causes sparks? That doesn't seem right.
     
  5. Feb 8, 2009 #4

    mgb_phys

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    Because it isn't a conductor charge builds up on the belt in exactly the same way
     
  6. Feb 8, 2009 #5
    So would this be accurate to say:

    The leather resists the flow of electric current. Leather cannot break down electrons. A free charge being accelerated by the electrical field will have enough energy to knock electrons from any atom it strikes. These electrons are accelerated and becomes a carrier, which creates two, four, and so on. The leather becomes filled with these carriers and when mixed with air sparks are formed.
     
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