UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information

Hello!
There is a spray called Staticide which reduces static in carpets, electronics, etc. How does that product work?

Thank You,
Answer 1:

I'm not sure exactly what is in "Staticide," since their formula is proprietary. However, some people do use solutions of fabric softener to reduce static electricity. It is the same chemical that is in fabric softener sheets that you can put in the dryer with your clothes. The chemical that allows fabric softeners to reduce static electricity is typically a molecule like dipalmitoylethyl hydroxyethylmonium methosulfate. It is a molecule with two alkyl chains and a quaternary amine - but what does that mean? The alkyl chains (the part where it says di (two) palmitoyl (12 carbon chain)) are hydrophobic - they like to bind to proteins or lipids, which is how most soaps work (why it likes to bind to carpets, etc). The quaternary amine is a cation - it has a positive charge. This type of molecule is called a surfactant. It will bind to something hydrophobic, but the positive charge can neutralize any charges built up, which causes the static electricity.

There are also other types of molecules - anionic lipids. These would have the same long-carbon chain (alkyl group), but attached to a phosphate group, which carries a negative charge.

To reduce the static electricity, you bring in charged molecules, which neutralize the built up charge. By making the charged molecules also hydrophobic, it makes them easy to disperse, like a soap.


I hope that helps!

Answer 2:

It probably lubricates things so that rubbing them together does not strip electrons off of the things being rubbed (fact that causes static electricity).

For more information please go to the next link:
static-electricity


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use