SEP 14, 2017 06:46 PM PDT

Ouch, you shocked me!


Don't you hate it when you brush up against someone by accident and all of a sudden get a quick, sharp shock? But what's the science behind this zap factor? Have you ever heard of the triboelectric effect? This effect refers to what happens when you rub two electrically neutral things together, which builds up a static charge, positively charging one of the objects and negatively charging the other. Let's look at an example.

When you rub your feet on the carpet you create a reaction between an electron-receiver and an electron-giver, resulting in negatively charged shoes on a positively charged carpet. Those extra electrons can move from your shoes onto your skin and up your body because we as humans are good conductors. But you know what is an even better conductor? Metal. So guess what happens when you go to open the door...? The electrons on your body jump toward the doorknob, creating a tiny lightning bolt, the heat of which you feel as the pain of a shock. Want to know why this happens more frequently in the winter than in the summer? Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
SEP 26, 2018
Videos
SEP 26, 2018
Sydney Brain Bank and CTE
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is caused by repeated blows to the head, results in a unique form of dementia that includes irrational anger,...
SEP 26, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 26, 2018
Musical Instrument-inspired Chemical Sensor
The connections between art and science are everywhere. To find them one needs a pair of curiosity-driven eyes, or ears. According to a recent article in t...
SEP 29, 2018
Videos
SEP 29, 2018
CRISPR Technology may Have Serious Drawbacks
The CRISPR gene-editing system has been touted as a miraculous tool, but it has its problems....
OCT 06, 2018
Videos
OCT 06, 2018
Explore a Human Cell with an Interactive Website
The Allen Institute is aiming to enhance our understanding of how human cells function....
OCT 10, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 10, 2018
OnSight Lets Scientists Study the Martian Surface with Virtual Reality
NASA’s Curiosity rover has been physically exploring the surface of Mars since 2012, but as it rolls along, it sends surface data back to scientists...
OCT 18, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 18, 2018
Lake Karachay The Most Radioactively Polluted Place on Earth
Located next to a Soviet's plutonium fuel processing center, Lake Karachay a small lake in Central Russia was considered the world' most conta...
Loading Comments...