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Here’s Why You Feel A Light Electric Shock When You Touch Someone And It’s Nothing To Worry About

by Shivani K

Our world is a beautiful place, isn’t it? Each day we come to know of newer facts about our mother nature. The nature that surrounds us has its unique way of working. And, there is scientific explanation for everything around us, irrespective of whether the phenomenon is visible to naked eyes or not.

That being said, have you ever experienced a slight jolt when you touch someone or a doorknob? This electric shock is extremely light — similar to the prick of a needle. However, the noise that comes with it can sometimes leave you feeling surprised. You feel special (and, maybe weird) when you experience this, don’t you? Just imagine. You touch someone and the both of you feel this slight electric jolt that may or may not be accompanied by a clicking noise. Most of us have faced this “zap” moment. Nevertheless, we frequently wonder why this happens to us. And, at some point, curiosity seeps in and we want to know what causes it, don’t we? Well, dear friends, the answer to it is static electricity. Now, let us unravel the mystery of electric discharges by digging deeper into the concept of static electricity.

So, All Of It Starts With An Atom

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You see, everything around us are made of defining structures called atoms. They, obviously, cannot be seen by our naked eye. These atoms are made up of positively charges protons, negatively charged electrons, and the neutral neutrons. When both the protons and electrons are of equal numbers, the atom is said to be in a neutral state. But, there can be many cases when this balance is disrupted. While the protons and neutrons don’t move, the electrons get excited at this stage. When there is a higher number of electrons than protons, the negative energy is high. The object or person with higher number of excited electrons creates a lot of negative discharge. Now, these negative electrons tend to feel the attraction toward the positively charged atoms (based on the law that energy moves from a region of higher concentration to lower concentration) of another person or object. And, the slight shock of electricity that we feel is a result of the quick movement of these negatively charged electrons toward the positively charges atoms.

Does Weather Have A Role To Play In This?

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You may have come across posts on social media about the people of Britain who were experiencing static shocks repeatedly during the big freeze, right? So, yes, the weather does have a role to play in experiencing electric shocks. During winters or dry weathers, the likelihood of a static discharge is a lot higher. It doesn’t happen as much during summers, since the moisture present in the air eliminates the negatively charged forces around us. In contrast to that, dry climatic conditions make it easier for the electrons to create negative charges on the surface of our skin.

So, Are These Negatively Charges Electrons A Forever Thing?

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Certainly not! These negatively charged electrons can be considered as fickle friends. They sure are attracted to you. However, they are not likely to hang around you for too long and will always search for a way out. So, when you reach out to a doorknob that is positively charged, the electrons tend to flee and that’s the reason why you get zapped. The jolt is a result of the air expanding and collapsing in the matter of fractions of a second.

Interesting Facts About Electric Discharge

  • Lightning is the most common example of static electricity. It occurs due to air rubbing between the clouds.
  • Static electricity doesn’t last long as it travels at the light speed of 186,282 miles per second.
  • High current isn’t caused by static electricity.
  • Static electricity poses problems for electronics manufacturers, because a strong discharge can damage certain electronic components, like video cartridges.

How To Stop Static Electricity From Surfacing?

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  • During winters, we can place humidifiers at home to cut down static electricity.
  • While combing your hair or untangling your skirt, if you feel the zap that tends to last longer, then a spritz of water can help calm down the negative electrons.
  • For manufacturing workers, they need to have strict clothing regulations. These regulations should ensure that they do not wearing woolen sweaters or hats as they have the ability to create static electricity.
  • Manufacturing plants should consider using air ionizers to keep the electron behavior under control.

Now you know that static electricity is the reason why you face those light electric shocks, especially during winters. You also know that there’s nothing to worry about. Do you know of any other interesting facts regarding static electricity? Let us know in the comments section below.

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