Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Static electricity

  1. Mar 21, 2006 #1
    Many times I have gone to the park, stuck my kid on the slide watched her slide down, hair sticking straight up, only to laugh at her and her to give me the "slide shock" as I give her a hand off the slide. Today however she asked me "why does the slide make my hair stick up", something in all honesty I have wondered myself, concidering that your head isn't the part you slide down on. I told her it must create a sort of electrical field.. I assume you all could explain this better.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2006 #2
    I think you are correct. The friction of the clothing rubbing against the slide causes a separation of charges....resulting in your body having more electrons than it would if it were neutral. The electrons tend to stay on surfaces, especially sharp angles and pointy objects....thinking of a strand of hair as kind of pointy. Since each hair has extra electrons, the hairs repel each other, because the electrons repel each other. Anyway, the excess electron charges are quite free to move from the slide to the clothing and then onto the hair, or then from her finger to your hand when you touch at the bottom. You will notice that this happens most often on dry days, and less often when it is damp or raining out. But then I guess you might not be sliding on a day like that.

  4. Mar 22, 2006 #3
    Thanks Richard
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook