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Normandy6644
2004-Dec-14, 02:45 AM
Are some people better conductors of static electricity than others? I seem to get shocked all the time here, generally when I go to grab my doorknob. This has gotten so bad that I actually cringe when I go to touch it (Skinner would be proud). My way around it is to smack my hand into the doorknob to lessen the time I'm near it and so the actual shock doesn't feel as bad. But nonetheless I wonder, are some people just better conductors of electricity than others?

Candy
2004-Dec-14, 02:55 AM
Same here. It is worse in the winter time when I run my furnace. :o

NASA Fan
2004-Dec-14, 02:56 AM
I don't know, but I think so. I seem to get shocked often. For me it happens when I leave the car, though it seems to only happen on cold days when I wear certain clothes.

I have learned to touch car doors with the back of my hand to reduce how much it hurts. Normandy try touching the door knob with the back of your hand, or through the clothes that you are wearing.

Normandy6644
2004-Dec-14, 02:58 AM
I have learned to touch car doors with the back of my hand to reduce how much it hurts. Normandy try touching the door knob with the back of your hand, or through the clothes that you are wearing.

Yeah that's how I've been doing it. I didn't articulate very well by saying "smack at it." :lol:

mickal555
2004-Dec-14, 02:59 AM
I used to always get zapped by my trampaline... I hated it I always jump over the metal now.

ktesibios
2004-Dec-14, 03:10 AM
Some fabrics (especially synthetics) are more prone to build up static charges than others. Generally speaking, the lower the conductivity the easier it is to build up a charge without it leaking away.

It's worse when you have the heat on because that usually produces lower humidities. Drier fabrics have higher resistivities.

Try using a fabric softener and one of those anti-cling dryer sheets when you do your laundry. That should at least reduce the tendency of your clothing to acquire a charge.

If a particular piece of furniture, like a chair or the seat of a car, tends to get you zapped every time you get out of it, you can use a surface treatment to reduce the resistivity of the fabric. At the studio where I worked when I lived back East, we had a lot of trouble with the control room chairs in the winter. What we used to reduce the zappage was Downy fabric softener, diluted 8:1 with water, in a spray bottle like you use to mist plants. Spraying that on the upholstery until the surface was slightly damp to the touch and letting it dry worked pretty well. We had to repeat it every couple of weeks or so.

If the problem is your carpets, there are commercial anti-static treatments available. Try asking a carpet-cleaning company about it.

Musashi
2004-Dec-14, 03:17 AM
I don't know, but I think so. I seem to get shocked often. For me it happens when I leave the car, though it seems to only happen on cold days when I wear certain clothes.

I have learned to touch car doors with the back of my hand to reduce how much it hurts. Normandy try touching the door knob with the back of your hand, or through the clothes that you are wearing.

I touched one side of a 240v bus today with the back of my hand. I don't know if it would have hurt more if it was the front side, I wasn't inclined to experiment. I can say that it was a nastly little sting.

01101001
2004-Dec-14, 03:38 AM
Try different shoes.

Try Stop Getting Shocks (http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/staticcont.htm).

Normandy6644
2004-Dec-14, 03:42 AM
Try different shoes.

Try Stop Getting Shocks (http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/staticcont.htm).

Great link! Thank you!

Candy
2004-Dec-14, 03:46 AM
Try different shoes.

Try Stop Getting Shocks (http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/staticcont.htm).
Gee, reading the link made me cringe.

Normandy6644
2004-Dec-14, 03:50 AM
Try different shoes.

Try Stop Getting Shocks (http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/staticcont.htm).
Gee, reading the link made me cringe.

Welcome to my world!

Morrolan
2004-Dec-14, 03:51 AM
in order not to get zapped when you get out of your car, make sure you touch the metal of the door before your feet touch the ground, that way you won't get zapped.

is it indoors? in winter static electricity build-up in the house seemed to me to be linked to certain types of clothing and floor coverings combined with very low humidity due to central heating. don't know why that is, but check if the humidity in your house is very low.

Maksutov
2004-Dec-14, 03:55 AM
Are some people better conductors of static electricity than others? I seem to get shocked all the time here, generally when I go to grab my doorknob. This has gotten so bad that I actually cringe when I go to touch it (Skinner would be proud).[edit]
At least you don't salivate and drool (I trust)!

Back in Connecticut a popular wintertime game with the kids was to turn out all the lights, shuffle across the rug, and then enjoy the light show when the static discharged to some metallic object. Sometimes the arc would be quite bright. ZAP!

enginelessjohn
2004-Dec-14, 08:50 AM
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is a problem in cold climates. When I worked for Ericsson, one of the factories used for prototype builds was in Linkoping in Sweden, which is pretty much in the centre of the country. In summer humidity was high, and ESD wasn't a problem at all. However in winter, people had to wear ESD shoes and coats, and you had to use a conductive strap to minimise the risk of damage to the phones that I was working on.

To minimise to the chances of ESD with a car I used to keep an ESD protecting bag, which is made from a very slightly conductive plastic. Resistance is in terms of Mohms. I'd slip the bag out of my pocket and close car doors with it. The ESD would then slowly (and painlessly) discharge through bag, and me, to ground. Any PC supplier will have dozens of these bags lying around, just ask nicely and you'll probably be able to get one.

Alternatively let someone else get out the car first.... :evil: Another good reason to car share.... :D

Cheers
John

Edited for grammar

sarongsong
2004-Dec-14, 09:06 AM
Thread title immediately brought this song's last verse to mind:
"...Yes, I received your letter yesterday
(About the time the door knob broke)..." (http://bobdylan.com/songs/desolation.html)
#-o

Tobin Dax
2004-Dec-14, 09:15 AM
Normandy, one of the habits I've picked back up pretty fast this winter is brushing metal things with the back of my hand before I touch them. I wasn't the only one doing that last year, either. Of course, mindlessly brushing a file cabinet this afternoon wasn't too fun (read Ouch!). Still, static electricity seems to be a fact of life around here in winter. Sorry to hear that it's the same in NY.

Enzp
2004-Dec-14, 10:08 AM
Carpets are a big offender. Back in the 80s when Pac Mac was a hit, carpeted Arcades had major troubles as the games were static sensitive. Someone walked up to a game and the static discharge as they touched the coin entry with their quarter caused the game computer to reset itself.

The above mentioned dilute DOwny fabric softener sprayed on the rugs helped a lot. It was cheaper than having a commercial destatic job done. Plus the arcade smelled April fresh.

Touching the doorknob with a key or even a ring will reduce or eliminate what you feel.

Remember the science fairs where the Van De Graf generator was set up, and someone would touch it, and then a line of people could join hands and form starting with the guy touching it, and we all charged up, so we could reach to someone across the room and zap them with a touch.

frogesque
2004-Dec-14, 10:54 AM
I had a car that was always giving ESD shocks and I would shut the door by touching the glass then discharge myself by tightly holding the key while I locked it. In the dark, sometimes I could see a spark jump from the tip of the key over a gap of about 1" (25mm). It's the point contact that causes the pain, if the area of skin in contact with the key (or any other metal object) is large the current density is low and you don't feel a concentrated zap.

Basically the same idea as Enzp has given

Wally
2004-Dec-14, 02:15 PM
Just keeping the humidity level up in your house should help. One way to do this is get a few house plants and keep them well watered. I also have a free standing propane fireplace I use to heat my great room. I keep a pot of water on top of it (spiced with cinniman sticks and cloves). It'll pretty much evaporate in a couple days, so I know it's doing some good, plus it always smells like someone's baking a pie!

NASA Fan
2004-Dec-14, 02:19 PM
Thanks to all the suggestions, I will try touching metal before getting out of the car. I probably cannot spray the seats as it is the company van, and other people drive it.

I've noticed that I get zapped more when I wear my work coat which has a fleece lining--a very good conductor from what I can tell.

Bad jcsd
2004-Dec-14, 02:26 PM
I've never been zapped.

The reaosn that some people are zapped is that a loose moral fibre is a poor conducter of electricty so electricty falling from the sky will tend to stick to them rather than falling off, those with a stronger moral fibre will not have this problem.

Changing your shoes can is only a stop-gap solution as the problem can only be solved by chaning your sinful lifestyle.

Candy
2004-Dec-14, 02:33 PM
I've never been zapped.

The reaosn that some people are zapped is that a loose moral fibre is a poor conducter of electricty so electricty falling from the sky will tend to stick to them rather than falling off, those with a stronger moral fibre will not have this problem.

Changing your shoes can is only a stop-gap solution as the problem can only be solved by chaning your sinful lifestyle.
Oh dear. [-X

Gmann
2004-Dec-14, 02:53 PM
Fleece is a fuzzy synthetic material, a very good generator of static. combine the static generating properties of synthetic materials (such as nylon) and paper, and you will understand why I dread doing my job in the winter. Under low humidity conditions, static can build up to high levels. Especially if you are dumping large amounts of paper/cardboard from nylon sacks into large aluminum containers equipped with rubber wheels. There have been times where I have filled one of these containers to 3/4 capacity with mostly paper/cardboard packages and you can place your arm over the pile of packages, and the hair on your arm stands out like it was starched. That is when I quickly grab the container to lessen the pain of discharging that much static. I used to wear blue jeans to work until one fateful day when I walked up close to one of these containers, and it discharged it's potential energy into the zipper on my pants. Needless to say, I lost "major cool points" and I have been wearing sweatpants to work in the winter ever since.

This is where the "don't get back into your car while filling up the gas tank, because you will blow yourself to Mars" thing comes from. If you must get back into your car while filling up, touch the metal of the car before you grab the gas nozzle.

Ut
2004-Dec-14, 04:28 PM
I've never been zapped.

The reaosn that some people are zapped is that a loose moral fibre is a poor conducter of electricty so electricty falling from the sky will tend to stick to them rather than falling off, those with a stronger moral fibre will not have this problem.

Changing your shoes can is only a stop-gap solution as the problem can only be solved by chaning your sinful lifestyle.

I guess I'd best start increasing my daily intake of Moral Bran Flakes, then, eh?

The car always (always always) gets me. It drives me crazy. And for some reason, I never remember to prep myself.

ToSeek
2004-Dec-14, 04:37 PM
If I'm in a situation where I think I'm going to get shocked, I'll pull out a key and touch it to the doorknob (or whatever) instead. If I have a good grasp of the key, then the current is spread out and doesn't hit at a point.

Bad jcsd
2004-Dec-14, 05:04 PM
I guess I'd best start increasing my daily intake of Moral Bran Flakes, then, eh?

despite their name Moral Bran Flakes are a poor source of morality, I recommend eating fruit as they tend to be more self-righteous.

Ut
2004-Dec-14, 05:07 PM
I guess I'd best start increasing my daily intake of Moral Bran Flakes, then, eh?

despite their name Moral Bran Flakes are a poor source of morality, I recommend eating fruit as they tend to be more self-righteous.

What good is self-righteous? I want something that's been ordained righteous by someone/thing other than themselves. I want certification!

jamestox
2004-Dec-14, 08:38 PM
Try this stuff: http://www.teebop.com/detail.aspx?ID=291

Our edit bays had carpeted floors and carpet-lined walls (to reduce noise) - and we had all kinds of problems with ESD-damaged electronics until I sprayed the bays down with it. Believe it or not, it actually worked.

J.

R.A.F.
2004-Dec-14, 09:31 PM
You've got this all wrong...static electricity is fun!

When my Wife (well, someone has to be the "victim") and I shop at Costco, I delight at chasing her around the store and shocking her in the "bum". You can tell when we're there because it's, "zzzt, OW, stop that...zzzt, OW, stop that". And these aren't little sparks either...they are big and bright blue and a half inch long!

The only trouble (besides an irate Wife) is that after shocking her about 10 times, my "shocking finger" tends to get a bit numb.

greg9001
2004-Dec-14, 10:07 PM
Try rubbing your hand on the door for a few seconds before you touch the doorknob.
This usually works for me. If it doesn’t, it will at least reduce the amount of charge you’ve built up.

Candy
2004-Dec-14, 11:38 PM
If I have a good grasp of the key, then the current is spread out and doesn't hit at a point.
Isn't it cool when you can actually see the spark when the key hits the keyhole?