# Electricity and Dust

My question is, does an electrically charged material attract dust?

Would it be possible to make a device like a vacuum cleaner based on a mechanism like this (in principle)?

• Do you mean this kind of device: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrostatic_precipitator ? – Qianyi Guo May 2 '14 at 14:15
• @GuoQianyi that looks exactly like what OP is looking for! If you could write a bit more about the mechanism of operation, you could (and should) post it as an answer! – Danu May 2 '14 at 14:43
• I am wondering whether a device similar to (irobot.com/us/learn/home/roomba.aspx) can be built except instead of a vacuum for cleaning, the device uses some sort of electricity to attract the dust. – user45705 May 2 '14 at 16:07

An electric dipole in an electric field feels a force $\vec F = -\vec\nabla(\vec d \cdot \vec E)$. This has the net effect of attracting polarizable objects to regions of stronger electric field.