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
How do door handles give out static electricity?
Question Date: 2019-03-18
Answer 1:

Static shocks are caused by the transfer of electrical charge from one object to another. Every physical thing we experience is made of electrically charged matter, which is either "positive" or "negative". However, usually the amount of positive charge is the same as the amount of negative charge, so the total charge is zero. It is like adding '1's and then subtracting the same number of '1's, for example: 1+1+1+1+1-1-1-1-1-1=0.

When things touch each other some charges can move from one object to another. When you walk on a carpeted floor, negative charges move into your body. Because door knobs are usually made of metal (which conducts electrical charges very well), when you touch a door knob these extra electrical charges leave your body and go to the door knob. This is what gives you an electrical shock. But don't worry, although it is electricity flowing through your body, these types of static shocks aren't dangerous because the amount of charged particles flowing between you and the door knob is quite small.

I hope this helps answer your question! Regards,


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 © 2017 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use