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Yesterday, when I came home, I went to the bathroom (lights off) and i took off my T-Shirt (100% cotton) which I wore under a Shirt (50% cotton, 50% polyester). I believe to have seen a small but well visible light arc.

Question: Is the amount of static discharge in T-Shirt big enough to produce a visible light arc?

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  • $\begingroup$ If it were wool, it would be possible. $\endgroup$ – jinawee Mar 29 '14 at 10:18
  • $\begingroup$ I was wearing a wool suit that evening. And there was definitely some static electricity, I felt it when i took the T-Shirt off. But I'm also curious why that would happen with a cotton shirt. $\endgroup$ – stebu92 Mar 29 '14 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ I see this occasionally myself with my own shirts (100% cotton), so you are not by yourself on this one. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Mar 29 '14 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ I've also seen the same effect with fleece blankets late at night during dry times of the year. $\endgroup$ – Chris Mueller Mar 29 '14 at 15:44
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Cotton is above polyester in the triboelectric series.

So it seems likely that the cotton shirt gained positive charge, and the 50% cotton 50% polyester shirt gained negative charge, and arcs formed.

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