Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?

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Aaron Ring

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« on: 20/04/2009 22:30:02 »
Aaron Ring  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi guys!

I love science and thanks to you guys I've learned a lot more.

I have a question that I can't figure out.  Starting about 3 or 4 months ago I've been getting small shocks whenever I touch doors, whether it be at work, at home or even car doors.  It was happening a lot while at work so I just attributed it to something there, but then I started getting shocked getting in and out of my car and even at home.  I thought it may have been my shoes but I've worn numerous pairs and still get shocked! 

What could be happening here? I haven't been doing anything out of the normal but this just recently came on and has been happening ever since.  I would love to know a scientific point of view because I'm going nuts!

This is the first time I've been able to listen live!  Great job on the show!

Aaron Ring
Stockton, California, USA

What do you think?

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Offline RD

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« Reply #1 on: 20/04/2009 23:29:12 »
California's dry heat, a.k.a. low humidity, may be responsible for your build up of static electricity.

Earthing devices are available for cars
, which dangle from the rear bumper (sorry, fender).

Special electrostatic discharge (ESD) shoes are available (conveniently in California), made for persons handling computer "chips", they have a conductive carbon in the sole.
« Last Edit: 20/04/2009 23:32:04 by RD »

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Offline turnipsock

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« Reply #2 on: 21/04/2009 01:39:41 »
have you changed your anti persperant recently?
Beeswax: Natures petrol tank sealant.

When things are in 3D, is it always the same three dimensions?

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Offline Chemistry4me

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« Reply #3 on: 21/04/2009 04:18:53 »
Big, woolly, insulating socks?
« Last Edit: 21/04/2009 04:21:02 by Chemistry4me »

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Offline RD

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« Reply #4 on: 21/04/2009 04:22:14 »
The composition of Aaron's socks may be significant...

Quote
Control of static charge on personnel: impact of socks on resistance to ground through footwear
Numaguchi, T.
Electrical Overstress/Electrostatic Discharge Symposium, 1996. Proceedings
Volume , Issue , 10-12 Sept. 1996 Page(s): 333 - 337
 
Summary: A study was initiated to evaluate the resistance to ground and tribocharging characteristics of a large number of people wearing different shoes in an electronics manufacturing environment. Various test methods were used to measure the resistance of shoes, shoes and socks, and resistance to ground of personnel through various flooring materials. This study has determined that the impact of socks to the overall resistance to ground values of personnel is a critical factor especially in an environment with low relative humidity.
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org

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Offline Chemistry4me

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« Reply #5 on: 21/04/2009 04:25:04 »
Oooo, how on Earth did I know! [:)]
That was a big fluke! [;)]


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Offline syhprum

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« Reply #7 on: 21/04/2009 12:05:13 »
It is a myth that the shocks are due to a charge building up on the car requiring a grounding strip on the fender (which is insulating plastic on all modern cars!).
The charge is generated by your clothing rubbing on the seat Nylon jackets are the worst.

PS when I did some electronic service work in cold dry Trøndheim I reverted to bare feet as the charge build up was so bad. 
syhprum

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Offline RD

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« Reply #8 on: 21/04/2009 19:23:29 »
Static charge does accumulate on vehicles because of dry air passing over them, e.g. helicopters ...

[attachment=8067]


http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=XZNLTrdaY0wC&pg=PA71&lpg=PA71&dq

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Offline syhprum

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« Reply #9 on: 22/04/2009 10:48:22 »
Although I can well believe that dangerous charges can build up on trailing cables from helicopters I thought that it was cars that we were discussing
syhprum

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Offline Aaron Ring

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« Reply #10 on: 22/04/2009 22:59:55 »
@turnipsock - I have not changed antipersant lately.

@Chemistry4me and others:  At work I wear a thin dress sock with dress shoes.

Like i've said ive tried a bunch of different varieties, thin to thick socks, dress shoes with thick soles to sneakers with thinner soles, but no matter what, i still get shocked at least 3 times a day.  My car has leather seats, so i dont know if that would change anything.

Its not that big of a deal, allbeit a little annoying, i'm just stumped why all of a sudden I've been getting shocked when nothing noticably different has changed.

Thanks everyone for your input thus far.

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Offline RD

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Why am I getting static shocks all of a sudden?
« Reply #11 on: 23/04/2009 21:25:51 »
Admittedly ESD shoes are not very dressy ... http://www.esd.tv/shoes.html