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Quite often, after sitting in front of the computer not moving a whole lot for a long time my upper body clothes (usually sweaters) make soft crackling sounds when moving or specially when taking them off. It affects more a certain type of thick materials (wool I think) than thin clothes.

Why does that happen, does it has to do with electricity, radiation, temperature, waves, a mix or something else?

It does tactually feel a little like static electricity from rubbing a balloon in clothes, and the computer does emit some warmth temperature.

Does it has to do more with the computer's monitor, or maybe some type of radiation? As I notice it more with an older laptop at work than my modern desktop at home.

Without making the question too opinion based, is it something slightly concerning/unhealthy that should be reduced in some way (maybe a screen filter/pellicle) other than the obvious solution of being less time in front of the computer with more regular breaks and maybe moving more?

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  • $\begingroup$ I asked what site I should ask this question at and got told here it would be ok with this question being similar. I'm not into physics so detailed explaination using simplistic terms are preferable. $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2020 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like you charged a bit of static. Nothing to worry about. $\endgroup$
    – Dr_Bunsen
    Jan 22, 2020 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ probably nothing to do with the computer itself. More likely it's static build up from sitting for so long or on the specific material of your computer chair. The computer is correlated only because it makes you sit in one place longer, I'd wager. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Jan 22, 2020 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ This reminds me of a memory from childhood: When I turned off my TV (this was a CRT-display TV) after long use, it gave a soft crackling sound for a few seconds. And when I brought my palm close to the TV screen and moved it across the screen (without touching), I felt a crackling, tingly feeling in my palm: It was like I was wiping "something" off the screen with the motion of my palm. Could this phenomenon be related to the phenomenon OP describes? I wait for an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Ajay Mohan
    Jan 22, 2020 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ @AjayMohan Yes, that is the type of feeling. Less sensitive but that type of sound. $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2020 at 15:14

3 Answers 3

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Some fifteen years ago one might've been able to blame the PC monitor for accumulating static charge and somehow depositing it on you. Nowadays, with CRT monitors being history, there's no longer a realistic way to get charged by simply being in front of the computer.

As a comment says, it's more likely that you get charged by rubbing your clothes against the chair. I.e. even if you replace the computer with a paper book, you'll still experience the same effect (provided the book is as interesting as the computer has been :D). Strength of the effect, i.e. the amount of charge accumulated, should depend on the material of clothes (as you noticed), as well as on the material of the chair. There exist some antistatic chairs that may help you avoid this.

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I am no expert in how computers exactly work, but I have read that computers release some radiation. It is nothing to worry about, it won't do any harm, but I think that may be causing some static charge in your clothes, especially since you sit in front of the computer for long times. That is why they make the sounds.

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  • $\begingroup$ It's not likely to make static unless it is ionizing radiation or plays off interesting physics like how microwaves and water work. Neither of which would be happening here. Anything that emits radiation is controlled to make sure it won't affect humans (exceptions exist for every rule, but computers aren't one) $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Aug 14, 2020 at 18:42
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A computer screen can build up a static charge after a period of use. If you are close to the screen, the charge on the screen can polarize your sweater a bit, producing a small surface charge on the sweater. If you lean back, the depolarization might be causing the crackling.

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    $\begingroup$ Modern LCD screens do not build up a static charge. $\endgroup$
    – hdhondt
    Sep 10, 2020 at 10:23
  • $\begingroup$ Clue: "I notice it more with an older laptop at work than my modern desktop at home." Yes, other things, feet on a carpet, squirming in the seat... That's why they told me to discharge myself before opening my computer. $\endgroup$ Sep 10, 2020 at 16:24

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