NATIONAL STATIC ELECTRICITY DAY
It may be a little shocking, but National Static Electricity Day is on January 9th. The observance explores static electricity and even how we may cause it.
Static electricity is different from the electrical current carried by wires through a building or transmitted by the electric companies. Static electricity is produced when the positive and negative charges of an atom are out of balance.
The atoms of some materials hold their electrons tightly. These materials, such as plastic, cloth, or glass, are insulators. While electrons of these substances do not move very freely, the electrons of other materials, such as metal, move more freely and are called conductors.
By rubbing two insulators together, we transfer electrons, causing positive and negative charges. Opposites do attract. Atoms with a positive charge become attracted to atoms with a negative charge. We can see the evidence if we rub a balloon head. When we pull the balloon away, the hair clings to the balloon.
Remove the balloon, and the hair may stand on end. In this circumstance, the hair has the same charge (either positive or negative). Items with the same charge repel each other.
At some point, these charges need to be put back in balance, and the static electricity is discharged. The release and the resulting shock occurs when an insulator comes in contact with a conductor, such as a piece of metal.
How to Avoid the Shock of Static Electricity
- The drier air of the winter months is a better insulator than the more humid air of summer. To help prevent static electricity, use a humidifier to put moisture back into the air in your home during the winter months.
- Our skin is drier in the winter months, too. Putting on moisturizer before getting dressed is recommended.
- Synthetic fabrics are better insulators than natural fibers. Wearing materials made from natural fibers such as cotton will help reduce the amount of static electricity that’s stirred up.
- While walking around the house, at work, or shopping, holding a key or a metal pen in your hand will help discharge the build-up of static electricity painlessly.
- Switching to leather-soled shoes versus rubber-soled shoes will help reduce the amount of static that is built up.
HOW TO OBSERVE STATIC ELECTRICITY DAY
Learn how static electricity affects us. Explore the ways you come into contact with static electricity and how you create it, too. Run an experiment and share your results.
Use #StaticElectricityDay to post on social media.
Educators, visit the National Day Calendar® Classroom for useful information you can use in your classroom.
NATIONAL STATIC ELECTRICITY DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar staff is shocked that we’ve not discovered the origins of this day! But we’ll keep searching.
Static Electricity FAQ
Q. Is static electricity harmful to humans?
A. Static electricity generally only causes a small shock when the energy is discharged. Newer technology at gas stations is reducing the risk of static build-up preventing a spark from causing a fire.
Q. Is static electricity visible?
A. Yes, it can be. Plasma lamps allow us to see static electricity in action. However, if you carry a large build-up of static electricity, you may see a small spark when you discharge it, too.
Q. What’s another name for static electricity?
A. Static electricity is also known as triboelectricity.
Q. Can static electricity be stored for power?
A. Static electricity can be used to power things such as a lightbulb. Researchers are also seeking ways to collect and store static electricity to be used in larger applications.
January 9th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
A pioneering balloonist completes the first successful balloon flight in the United States. Ascending over a gathered crowd at the Walnut Street Prison in Philadelphia, French aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard demonstrates his hydrogen gas balloon.
Joe Louis squares off in his 20th title defense at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He KOs Buddy Baer in the first round and retains his world heavyweight title.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils the first iPhone during his keynote session at the Macworld convention in San Francisco, CA.
January 9th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Carrie Chapman Catt – 1859
The suffragist and peace activist served as a powerful voice and offered information in an era of change for many women. In 1902, she founded the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. Catt later founded the Woman’s Peace Party. Her efforts along with other women in her lifetime and those before her led to the passage of the 19th amendment. In 1920, just before the amendment’s passage, Catt founded the League of Women Voters.
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney – 1875
In 1931, the notable American sculptor founded the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
Richard Nixon – 1913
From 1953 to 1961, Nixon served the United States in the role of vice president. While campaigning with candidate Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, questions were raised about gifts Nixon prompting him to give the “Checkers” speech. Then in 1968, Nixon ran his second, and successful, run for president. He became the 37th President of the United States. While he brought Americans home from Vietnam, the Watergate scandal resulted in Nixon submitting the first-ever resignation of a U.S. president.
Earl G. Graves Sr. – 1935
In 1970, Graves founded Black Enterprise magazine. He also served as Chairman and CEO of Pepsi-Cola of Washington, D.C. as well as the director of several boards. Graves was also a champion of education.
Joan Baez – 1941
The folk singer-songwriter gained a strong following during the 1960s. Her political activism drew many to her at a time when activism was growing. Some of her best-known songs include “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” and “Diamonds and Rust.”