Kate's Corner: What is static electricity?

By  | 

BRIDGEPORT, W. Va. (WDTV) - As we head into winter, you'll notice your hair and clothes are becoming more and more static clingy. You've dealt with static electricity either when you shock your hand on the door knob, pant legs stick to you or, maybe the worst, when your hair is sticking straight up but actually is static electricity?

It's the build-up of electrical charge on the surface of an object. This type of electricity is called static because the charges stay on one area and don't flow. As the saying goes, opposites attract and oppositely, like charges repel. So when your hair is standing up straight, it is because those pieces of hair are charged positively and are repelling or pushing against each other. Your pants stick to your leg because the two objects have different charges and are attracted to each other.

Finally, you'll notice there is more static in the winter months. this is because the air is drier in the colder months. Since there's less moisture in the air, the electrons have very little resistance and can move around more easily and thus change object's charge.