What is Static Electricity

What is Static Electricity?

  • What is static electricity

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Static means motionless. Static electricity is therefore a motionless electrical charge. All materials are made up of atoms. An atom is the smallest particle of a material that still has the properties of that material. Each atom consists of a positively charged nucleus around which one or more negative electrons move. At rest, the positively charged nucleus corresponds to the sum of the negative charge of the electrons moving around this nucleus. The charge is therefore neutral (see Figure 1). When the nucleus gains more electrons or loses electrons, an imbalance arises. An atom that has lost one or more electrons has a positive charge, and an atom that has lost one or more electrons has a negative charge and is called an ion (see Figure 2). There are only two types of charges: positive and negative. Charges of the same kind repel each other and different charges attract each other.

Static electricity definition

Static electricity is the result of an imbalance between negative and positive charges in an object. These charges can build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be released or discharged.


Static electricity is a surface phenomenon that occurs when two or more surfaces touch and then separate again. This means that negative electrons are split or transferred from one atom to another. The level of the charge (the field strength) depends on several factors: the material and its physical and electrical properties, temperature and humidity, and the pressure and speed of separation. The higher the pressure or the speed of separation, the higher the charge (see Figure 3).

In the winter months, the static charge is higher because the air humidity is lower. At high relative humidity, certain materials can absorb moisture, which makes the surface semi-conductive. In this case, the static charge remains low due to the (semi) conductive surface or does not exist at all. Different materials are given in the triboelectric series (see Figure 4). These materials have a positive or negative charge due to friction. The level and polarity of the charge depends on the position in the series.

Materials are divided into two main groups: conductors and insulators. The electrons can move freely in a conductor. A ladder installed in isolation can generally absorb a static charge. This charge can easily be removed by connecting the conductor to earth (see Figure 5). Non-conductive material can hold static charge for a long time, even with opposite polarities in different places. The electrons cannot move freely. This explains why materials can be attracted in some areas and repelled in other areas. A connection with the earth remains ineffective, as the material has insulating properties (see Figure 6). Only active ionization offers a solution for this.

In production processes, static charge is often a serious disruptive factor, as materials stick to one another or to machine parts. There is a risk of electric shock for the operating personnel. The static charge attracts the dust in the environment. In areas where there is a risk of explosion, a spark caused by static discharge can cause a fire or even an explosion.


How can I control static electricity?


The neutralization of static charge on non-conductors takes place through active ionization. Simco is a world-famous manufacturer of ionization devices. At the high voltage peaks of these devices, air molecules are separated into positive and negative ions. The static charge on the product attracts the ions of opposite polarity, making the material neutral. Simco offers a wide range of equipment from which the precise product can be selected that is best suited for a specific production process or application. Static electricity can also be useful. Using high voltage, static electricity can be applied to materials so that they temporarily adhere to one another to simplify production processes.

In short: Simco offers devices for measuring and controlling static electricity. Thanks to a unique concept, the IQ Easy Platform, up to 30 ionization and charging devices can be connected in a network and allow full control over all parameters. All devices communicate with each other to optimize efficiency.


How static jam causes processes:


  • Conversion: Static charge leads to the attraction of dust and dirt to the tissue. Material is rejected.
  • Packaging: Static electricity attracts contaminants, so clear labels will not adhere. The production decreases.
  • Plastics: Injection molded parts attract contaminants and impact personnel during processing due to static charges. Efficiency drops.
  • Textiles: Static charges bind threads in loops and loops and break them. Machine downtime
  • Nonwovens: Trim collection systems clog due to the build-up of static electricity on materials in pneumatic conveyor belts. Increased maintenance.
  • Printing: The feeding and delivery of the sheet-fed printing machine is problematic because of the statics. Not timely delivery.
  • Graphics: The static charge during film processing leads to costly retouching or new productions. Unsatisfied customers.
  • Manufacture of medical devices: Static electricity draws impurities into small plastic parts before packaging. Decreased quality.
  • Electronics: Destructive electrostatic discharge (ESD) causes latent damage to the assembly. Field error.


How SIMCO Static Control Equipment improves manufacturing processes


  • Retrofitting: Neutralized material remains free of dust and dirt during rewinding. Reduced scrap.
  • Packaging: The elimination of static charges on labels and / or bottles enables labels to be used successfully. Increased production.
  • Plastics: After neutralization, injection molded parts do not stick to each other during transport. Line efficiency increases.
  • Textiles: threads run smoothly through creels and warpers run at optimal speed without unnecessary maintenance. No unnecessary downtime.
  • NonWovens: The trim collection system runs continuously as static charges are eliminated before entering the cyclone. Increased production.
  • Printing: The sheet feeder is neatly and precisely stacked - ready for binding without adjustment. On time delivery.
  • Graphic Arts: Processed film remains dust-free and makes new productions superfluous. Satisfied costumers.
  • Manufacture of medical devices: contamination-free packaging of small plastic parts by removing static charges on parts and packaging materials. Increased quality.
  • Electronics and semiconductors: ESD protection during assembly work ensures compliance with quality assurance standards. Reduced product defects.


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