According to the astrophysicists, the Big Bang that expanded and stretched the universe can’t happen again because the universe is still expanding. Will the expansion continue forever or will there be a day when everything stops? What would that look like? Like an airplane that defies gravity with the speed of forward motion, do we need to worry about all things in the universe just dropping out of the sky without forward propulsion?
Even such, the Big Bang keeps us wondering about life itself and how insignificant we may be in the overall scheme of existence. From science, we know that atoms are the smallest particle of an element. Are we or even the world itself just atoms in a system where math doesn’t exist to explain how little we are on the ladder of life? Scientists say that all of the ingredients that were gathered at the time of the Big Bang can be found inside the human body. We are matter and matter is defined by anything that has mass and takes up space. Come to think of it, my mother used to tell me something about “just taking up space.”
The Law of Conservation
Besides trying to figure out the universe and solar system, science can be very confusing. For example, the Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. However, it can change form, as is realized in changing chemical energy to kinetic energy. Ingredients found in dynamite are made up of chemicals, and once the fuse is lit, there is an explosion. The explosion then becomes the kinetic energy and nothing seems to exist afterward, save maybe a few scraps of debris on the ground.
A rule of the above mentioned Law of Conservation of Energy states that perpetual motion cannot exist without an energy source or power to keep it going. This rule seems to support my point at the opening of this post about the expanding universe and going from the Big Bang to continued expansion. At some point, things stop — unless there is another Big Bang to keep things in motion.
Control Static With Our Products
At Static Clean, we manufacture charging power supplies that apply energy to applicators that attack atoms or air molecules to create ions. Of course, that is not the only reason why we build this type of equipment. We are a static control company, which means we also build air ionizers that are used to control static events and prevent explosions on equipment where volatile chemicals vapors are involved in the process.
If static is not kept to low levels explosions can occur. Like the stick of dynamite exploding, companies have to deal with problems associated with converting chemical energy to kinetic energy. For help in controlling static and preventing fires and explosion, contact Static Clean International for expert advice.
The Van de Graaff generator was invented in 1929 by American physicist Robert J. Van de Graaff. That’s a great fact, but why did he invent such a contraption?
Flashback to Science Class
Van de Graaff began experiments to find methods to accelerate particles at very high speeds in order to disintegrate atomic nuclei. We’ve all seen these generators with the aluminum dome on top of a long pole in science class, and if not, we’ve certainly heard about them. Is that what we were doing in science class? Trying to accelerate particles and not just create lightning?
When we were young, we thought it was cool to receive and give people static shocks. When belts made of silk rotate on small motors, they create friction, and therefore static electricity. The belts in proximity to the hollow metal domes are insulated from a ground reference. The charged metal domes can store enough energy to produce a visible discharge, but the current is typically very low. Table top versions of the Van de Graaff generator, as used in science experiments, can reach between 200,000 and 500,000 volts.
Time for a Field Trip?
The largest Van de Graaff generator in the world, built by its inventor in 1930, is on permanent display at Boston’s Museum of Science. This 15-foot diameter sphere stands atop a 22-foot tall column and has the capability of generating 2,000,000 volts. Three or four times a day, the techs at the museum demonstrate how it works. As the generator reaches its peak, it produces sparks, lightning and makes hair stand up. The science techs stand inside the caged dome, which demonstrates lightning. Also, a 20 minute display teaches those in attendance about conductors, insulators, electricity, magnetism and storm safety.
The Dangers of Van de Graaff Generators
It is important to note that Van de Graaff machines, even the table top science lab units, can generate enough energy to stop a pacemaker and destroy sensitive electronic gadgets such as cell phones, laptops and personal computers. Make sure that during experimentation, precautions are taken to keep these devices away from the field of energy that is created by the generators. It is not recommended for children under the age of nine.
Static electricity is a threat that can cause many problems. A whole industry of static control equipment and materials has spawned from the ill effects of electrostatic fields and electrostatic discharge. If you have a static problem, please contact Static Clean and we will offer the best recommendations to keep you and your products safe.
“I can’t get the static out of my hair!”
Ladies, you know what we’re talking about. Those of you with long hair (and gentlemen, too) are probably all too familiar with static electricity styling your hair. Combining the dry winter months that have relatively low humidity with blow dryer use is the main reason for flyaway hair that looks like it comes from a science experiment.
You’ve heard of the home remedies; leave your hair damp, add some high quality conditioner or take more Omega Fatty Acids such as fish oil. While these solutions are not too far off base, let’s look at the root cause of the problem first.
Where does static electricity come from?
Everything is made up of atoms. Most atoms are neutral because the positive charges cancel out of the negative charges. When the outer layer of atoms is rubbed off, it will produce atoms that have a slightly positive charge while the object that did the rubbing will have a slightly negative charge. Static electricity is caused by two materials, one that charges positively and one that charges negatively.
Static electricity in your hair or on your clothing is no different than the static that is generated during many manufacturing processes. Brushing your hair with plastic bristles creates the same problem as plastic material rubbing against machine parts: unwanted static. While controlling static can mean the difference between a good or bad hair day for you, plastic manufacturers have a whole other set of problems. Controlling static makes a difference in how fast a machine can run, how to prevent shocks and how to improve yields, which translates into higher profits for the company.
So what’s the static solution?
You might have thought that raising the humidity could fix your hair problem. True, the static might go away, but your hair will be a frizzy mess instead. In the manufacturing world, it can cause extreme problems such as rust on metal machine parts. In the hair care world, some of the major hair dryer manufacturers have added ionic blow dryers to their product lines. These ionic dryers create positive and negative ions to help fight out static electricity.
The best way to ensure that equipment runs smoothly and static-free in any manufacturing process is to use the right ionizer in the form of blowers, static bars, air knives or nozzles. Serving industrial, medical and electronic markets, we have the solution to your static problem…contact us today!
For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that the world is made up of only two materials, conductors and insulators.
Conductors tend to be mostly metals that have the ability to be grounded and allow electrons to pass through them. Insulators tend to be mostly plastics that cannot be grounded and do not allow electrons to flow through them. A basic example of these two materials is found in high voltage electrical wire or cable. The inside of a standard high voltage wire is metallic which allows current to flow through it. The outer jacket is plastic so that we don’t see the voltage. It is designed to protect people from shocks and even electrocution if the current is high.
Static electricity is often confused with standard electricity, but they are actually quite different, with the biggest difference being the low current behind a static discharge.
The magnitude of the static charge depends on several factors including speed, pressure, surface contact and humidity.
We’ve all experienced the discomfort of being shocked after walking across carpet and then touching a metal door knob. Many people wear rubber or man-made plastic material on the soles of their shoes which act as insulators. As they shuffle across the carpet, they build static on their bodies. Our bodies act as conductors because we are made up of plenty of water. When we touch the door knob, which is also a conductor, the energy on our body flows to the metal door knob. This exchange of energy is where you feel the shock. In the winter when the air is dry and humidity is low, the static shock sensation is much more intense.
In the manufacturing environment, static can be generated in almost the same way. Plastic materials moving through a process generate static because of the friction, which can cause it to stick or jam inside machinery. The machines are metal and fairly well-grounded in most cases, but since the plastic is an insulator, it cannot be grounded. This is where static-related problems can occur. Have you ever rubbed a balloon on your hair and stuck it to a ceiling? This is the same situation on a converting machine. Conductors and insulators interact all the time, so finding the right solution can sometimes be tricky.
For plastic processing, static eliminators are used to cure static problems. The decision on which type of ionizer or technology to use is determined by understanding that particular process. Grounding is always the front line of defense, so make sure that all conductors are at ground potential. The second course of action should be to mount an ionizer in the proper location to treat the insulators in the process.
Make sure to check out our selection of ionizing blowers, guns and nozzles to eliminate static electricity. Contact us if you have any questions about our products so that we can get you set up with the best solution!