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Don't Give Me Static

There are several ways to think about electricity or put it into categories. One way is to consider whether electricity is Static or Dynamic.

Static Electricity

There are less dramatic displays of static electricity other then the example in the earlier section of the electrical storm. Such is the case when we generate static electricity by walking around and then feel the discharge spark by touching another person or some object. This static charge is generated by movements (friction) and stored on the body.

Static electricity is a very high voltage, or a very great imbalance in the level of charge. This voltage is so high that many people consider only the voltage portion of the charge and do not give much consideration the other electrical characters of static electricity. Static electricity is considered, by many, as unmanaged electricity. Static electricity, however, can be a great problem for some electronic components, as well as in other places within our daily lives. So at some level, we need to manage this static energy.

Managing Static Electricity

We will not spend much time addressing static electricity, however, there are places and times that static electricity can be very dangerous and should be managed.

One example is when working with flammable materials. You may have noticed that many filling station gas pumps have signage telling where the emergency shutoff is located. Other signage tells you to should stay close in attendance while filling your tank. There is a common danger when sliding back into your car then out again during the filling process, because you might build a static charge causing a spark in the gaseous vapors, when you remove the nozzle from your car.

Another need where electrostatic discharges should be managed is when working with sensitive electronic components. Often grounding wrist straps or protective clothing are used while working with electronics. A basic knowledge is needed to properly protect circuitry used this book, but a topic is to vast to fully cover here. With the static risk to the parts, some electronic parts comes in pink plastic bags or other special carriers. The study of managing static (ESD) is a fascinating field in and of itself. If you plan to spend a lot of time working with electronic circuit boards, it may be well worth your time and energies to read more on the subject of ESD. You may be asked to setup an ESD protected electronics workshop someday.

Dynamic Electricity

Generally, in my works I will be address dynamic electricity as simply electricity. If I address static electricity I will call it static electricity In this series I will address electricity at rest, as in a battery or an open circuit, and electricity in motion, where electrons are flowing, as electricity.

General Sources of Voltage

One of the more common sources of electricity come from chemical reactions similar to those in our everyday batteries. A second source is from electromagnetic reactions. This is the method used in power plants and wind turbine generators, and from our automobiles alternator.

There are less commonly known forms of generating electricity. They include photovoltaic (solar cells) which converts sunlight (photons) directly into electricity (electrons), piezoelectric which converts kinetic energy (crystal under pressure) into electricity, betavoltaics which converts radioactive energy directly into electricity and a thermocouple where dissimilar metals are bonded together and produce electricity with thermal changes.

After this warning message, I will start with the battery.


Working with electricity MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.
Some components are a hazard for infants, and children.
Small parts are a swallowing hazard for infants and children.
Equipment and labs may use lethal voltages.
Be very cautious when working with electricity.
Hand tools may be hazardous.
Proper precautions should be used.
Some electronic components and electrical wiring contain lead.
Lead is a health hazardous.
Do not place components or wiring in your mouth.
Do not eat while working with electronic components or wiring.
Prior to eating, wash your hands thoroughly.

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