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Static electricity - Quantity of charge induced.

  1. Nov 15, 2013 #1
    Hi all,
    Let us say I have rubbed cat fur with nylon. Is there any relation for determining the amount of charge (in Coulombs) induced on either of the materials?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2013 #2


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    I suppose if you know the capacitance of the cat then Conservation of Energy sets an upper limit on the charge :-)

    E = 0.5 Q2/C

    PS: I can't help work out the efficiency with which your mechanical energy is converted to electrical energy in the cat.
  4. Nov 18, 2013 #3
    Dear CWatters,
    First, Thank you for the reply. Please consider the following - I need the static discharge energy as the final result. I have the capacitance (C) of the body. I know the resistance (R) to ground. I need the rate of charge accumulation (Q/t) or the amount of charge accumulation (Q) on a body when it/he/she is moving at a velocity 'v' or any other condition. I am what can be called a naive in PHYSICS. Please let me know if any one has come across some relation which connects the mechanical world to the amount of static charge deposited.
    Thanks and best regards
  5. Nov 18, 2013 #4


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    I doubt it's possible to calculate it. Too many real world unknown factors effect the efficiency with which charge is accumulated. The best I can offer is an upper limit from Conservation of Energy...

    For example the work you do rubbing the two together can be calculated from

    Work = force * distance.

    The resulting energy stored in the capacitance of the body can't be greater than that due to conservation of energy. The problem is that some unknown percentage of the applied force applied will be lost overcoming friction (released as heat) rather than charging the capacitor.

    So you have an equation like

    Energy applied = Energy losses + Energy stored in the capacitor

    Filling in what you know gives..

    Force * distance = ?? + 0.5CV2

    You could run an experiment and measure the applied force, the velocity and the resulting voltage on the capacitor. That would allow you to calculate the percentage lost to friction (and other effects).

    If you prefer you could work with Power rather than Energy...

    Power = ΔEnergy/Time

    so you have

    Force * Distance/time = ?? + Power into the capacitor

    which gives

    Force * Velocity = ?? + Power into the capacitor

    but you still have the unknown power loss due to friction and other effects which I think can only be determined by experiment.
  6. Nov 18, 2013 #5
    Thank you. You have given me an idea from which I can derive my charge induced. Force of friction x distance x efficiency (about 2 percent, from Van de Graaf generator efficiency)= energy stored in capacitor (0.5 x C x V2);
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