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Triboelectric Series

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Static electricity is different than regular electricity that flows through metal wires. Most of the time the materials involved in static electricity are not even conductors of electricity. Non-metals like plastic, rubber, wood, etc. are good for static electricity because electrons just collect on their surface instead of passing through them. If electrical charges build up on the outside of a metal or another easy conductor, most of them will dissipate into the metal, similar to an electrical current.

The Triboelectric Series shows which materials will work the best to create static electricity when rubbed together. Rubbing those that collect positive charges with those that collect negative charges will produce the best results. But you can also create some charges by rubbing two materials in the same section. For example, rubbing rabbit fur on aluminum will create some positive ( + ) to collect on the rabbit fur, even though they are both collectors of positive charges.

 

 

Dry human skin ( ++++++ )
Leather
Rabbit fur
Glass
Human hair
Nylon
Wool
Lead
Silk
Aluminum
Paper
Cotton ( + )

Steel ( 0 )

Wood ( - )
Amber
Hard rubber
Nickel, Copper
Brass, Silver
Gold, Platinum
Polyester
Styrene (Styrofoam)
Saran Wrap
Polyurethane
Polyethylene (like Scotch Tape)
Polypropylene
Vinyl (PVC)
Silicon
Teflon ( - - - - - - )