In the early 1990's I saw an extreme example of static electricity. It was in a university library. I would walk in and walk normally for 5 minutes. Then when I tried to walk out, if I touched the metal pole where people submitted books, I would get a massive static electricity shock. Not just a spark. But a massive blueish white bolt that hurt a lot. Every day that I walked in this happened.

My question is: how would you measure the static electricity force involved? You have two issues [1] You don't know exactly when the static charge will occur and [2] then you have to have some way of measuring it. It's not nice and predictable like a Van De Graff Generator.


1 Answer 1


the measurement tool is called an electrostatic voltmeter. I do not know if any exist that you could slip into and out of your pocket to make field measurements though.

  • $\begingroup$ They are too big to carry? $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2019 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ The voltages involved might be much higher than the maximum that the electrostatic voltmeter is designed to measure? $\endgroup$
    – Farcher
    Nov 29, 2019 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ yes, but that's where you would start.... $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2019 at 18:27

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