Why Static Cling Occurs

What Is Static Cling

Why Static Cling Occurs

Uses of Static Cling

Reducing Static Cling


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Seeing two substances stick to each other as if by ‘magic’ can easily be explained away to Static Cling. But why does static cling happen and what causes static cling?

Static cling occurs because of static electricity. To understand what static electricity and static cling is, you first need to understand a little about all materials.

Any solid material is basically made up of atoms, which in turn are made up of electrons. To be balanced and stable, each atom has to contain a certain number of electrons. If an atom in any substance is missing any electrons, it will try to share or take electrons from other atoms to make itself complete.

Okay, so how does this translate into static cling?

When friction is caused between two different materials as they come in contact with each other, the electrons in one material will tend to attract the electrons in the other material to balance their atoms. Because of this, the substance that loses the electrons becomes negatively charged and the substance that gains the electrons gets positively charged. This transferring of electrons creates static electricity. As negative and positive charges attract each other, the two materials will stick to one another, thus causing static cling.

Static cling thus occurs only when two materials are rubbed together, and if the two materials are different. If two same substances are rubbed together, there will not be any static cling because the similar atoms tend to have the same electrical charges and thus don’t attract each other.

From the above, it can be summarized that static cling occurs if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • When there is friction between two materials
  • The two materials are not the same but are electrically insulating
  • Dry conditions exist with humidity at very low levels (this is conducive to the transferring of electrons)

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