5
$\begingroup$

This is one of those questions that came up during a discussion with a friend on static electricity.

His argument (which I dispute) is that there must be a relation between temperature and the generation of static electricity as most incidents of static discharge are reported in the winter months.

My counter argument was that that is just coincidental - people wear more layered clothing during winter and there is just a higher chance to generate static - I also countered that you can generate static simply by dragging your feet across carpet wearing socks; no matter what the temperature.

He then countered that people also wear layers of clothing in the summer, yet we do not hear of many static discharge stories in summer.

Is there any relation between the two?

$\endgroup$
8
$\begingroup$

Static discharge has a strong correlation with humidity. In winter, due to low temperature, the dew point is lowered and as a result, the water content in the atmosphere is lowered. In summer, correspondingly the dew point is higher and water doesn't condense as easily and so there is a lot more content of water in the air.

Now the moist air being weakly conducting conducts part of the static electricity produced by rubbing or friction between two different objects. Since air is not so moist in winter, the static electricity is not so easily dispersed away and that is the reason we get 'electric shocks' in winter and not so much in summer as such dispersion due to moist air is more common.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.