National Static Electricity Day is celebrated on January 9th. Many people would not understand what static electricity really is and how it works. In the US, in the month of January every day is dedicated for a particular cause or an event, therefore January 9th is dedicated as the National Static Electricity Day.
Many of us would have experienced, when we suddenly touch any metal, we experience a sudden static or shock. Sometimes as soon as we take off our hat, our hair stands straight. This especially happens in winters. Therefore, the sudden shock and the hair standing out is a result of static electricity. To know a little more about it we should be aware of a few things around us.
As we all know that everything that surrounds us is made of atom. According to scientists there are 115 pieces of atoms; therefore everything is made of atoms.
Atoms consist of protons, neutrons and electrons and all these three are different from each other. All these have their own characteristics. Out of these, one of the properties is known as an electrical charge. Electrons have a (-) “negative’’ charge and (+) protons have a “positive” charge, while neutrons do not have a charge, they are just neutral. So in an atom when the number of electrons and protons are equal, the atom does not have any charge, its neutral.
Positive and negative chargers are different. As they say that opposites attract, which is true. Two things that have one positive and the other negative charge will attract.
As kids you would have tried this activity. Cut small pieces of paper, take a plastic ruler and rub it on your head. As you move the plastic ruler over the small pieces of paper, you will notice that they get attracted to the plastic ruler. This is known as static force which attracts atoms from the paper to stick to the ruler. Since we know that objects that have the same charge move away from each other. Like two negative or two positive chargers put together will repel from each other.
So, now we know that when we take off our hat, it brushes against the hair. Therefore, the electrons present on your hair move to the hat. As explained earlier, object with the same charge repel from each other, therefore your hair tries to move away from each other. As a result of this it stands straight which is a result of it moving far away from each other. Hence static electricity causes the hair to be this way.
In the same way, when you are walking across a rug, there are electrons that pass on from the rug on to you. You now have a negative static charge and a few extra electrons on your body. When you touch a metal, the metal which is a conductor makes the electrons leap from you to the metal, causing a static shock.
Therefore, the National Static Electricity day is dedicated by knowing how it works and trying out different experiments.