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Discussion » Questions » Science and Technology » Okay science buffs: I never understood electricity and least of all static electricity. What are all those electrons doing buzzing around

Okay science buffs: I never understood electricity and least of all static electricity. What are all those electrons doing buzzing around

balloons and plastic wands.  Aren't they supposed to be circling a nucleus somewhere?  And what about the nucleus they left the balloon for?  Is it now still the same element or compound?

Posted - June 12


  • This sounds like a job for 99.
      June 12, 2019 7:16 PM MDT

  • 10862
    Get Smart instead....   Heheu 
      June 12, 2019 7:40 PM MDT

  • 2320
    Simplest answer?

    Because electrons in the outer rings can be broken free and move from the atom. They have a weak bond.  Friction causes them to move from the outer shell of one to the other .that creates a  charge. 
      June 12, 2019 7:31 PM MDT

  • 10862
    Shockingly electricity travles slightly slower than the speed of light ...when cables are charged the electrons all straighten out and let's the current flow quickly...

    Like anything that gets's all todo with stimulation to get the electrons going strongly.....  :)D 
      June 12, 2019 7:38 PM MDT

  • 3327
    Oh my goodness! That sounds like a high voltage probe!
      June 12, 2019 7:46 PM MDT

  • 5836

    But there's a "disclaimer" at the of the article: 

    What you've just read is the traditional, widely accepted explanation of static electricity—and you'll still find it described that way in most school books.

    But in 2011, scientists reported some important new discoveries that seemed to suggest much more was going on. Instead of being purely a matter of physics, and a simple transfer of charged electrons from one material to another, it seemed static electricity could also be caused by chemistry (movement of ions and other essentially chemical processes). And it could also happen through a swapping of small amounts of actual material (a bit of balloon shifting to your pullover or vice versa). Where we used to think of static as a simple "pile" of negative or positive charge (electrons or a lack of them), on closer inspection, it now appears to be a "mosaic" of both positive and negative charges that add up to an overall charge (positive or negative). This research is very new, and still evolving, but it seems clear that our traditional explanation of static electricity is an oversimplified version of what's really happening, even if we've faithfully believed it for over 2000 years! 

    Edit: This post was edited by tom jackson at June 13, 2019 11:37 AM MDT
      June 12, 2019 8:41 PM MDT

  • 2472
    I'm no science buff, but this is how I remember it from 1st-year high school...

    Atoms consist of a nucleus and, depending on the element, varying numbers of protons and electrons. The protons and neutrons contain small electrical charges which repel each other. By convention (it's arbitrary) the protons are said to have a positive charge while the electrons are said to be negatively charged. Electrons orbit the nucleus of an atom and depending on the element may be very stable, sticky, reluctant to leave the nucleus (the material is a good insulator), or flighty and unstable (the material is a good conductor). 

    A current of electricity is a steady flow of electrons. An electron, which carries a negative charge is attracted to a positive charge - ie, a neighbouring atom which lacks a negative charge because it has lost one of its electrons. When the electron moves or jumps along, it leaves the previous atom missing an electron and hence attractive to another electron to join it. When electrons move from one place to another, round a circuit, they carry electrical energy from place to place. In this way, they carry their electric charge with them.

    Electric power is the rate at which electric energy is transferred by an electrical circuit, a circuit which connects a negative to a positive pole.
      June 12, 2019 10:50 PM MDT

  • 24887
    Too many good answers for me to chime in.
      June 13, 2019 8:16 AM MDT

  • I'm disappointed. 
      June 13, 2019 8:22 AM MDT

  • 24887
    Sorry. A lecture in basic electricity would take too long.Much of it is covered above.
      June 13, 2019 8:29 AM MDT

  • 3327
    B-b-b-ut the question was posted specifically with you in mind.
      June 13, 2019 12:38 PM MDT

  • 40455
    I have not even responded yet.  
      June 13, 2019 12:40 PM MDT

  • 7295
    Element, you just woke up too late to give your answer.  We all know you could have answered right out-the-gate had you known the question was posted.
    You'll have 98 more times to prove your Element-hood.  After that, though,  Iiiiiiiii Doooon't Knnnnowwwww.....
    ;) :)
      June 13, 2019 11:35 AM MDT

  • 40455
    First of all, you are looking for love in all the wrong places.  You don't NEED a science buff.  

    You need to see for yourself.

    You need LSD.

    This post was edited by TRUMP & JOE BOTH need to GO at June 13, 2019 2:31 PM MDT
      June 13, 2019 12:42 PM MDT

  • 24887
    I give up...The guy who made this is Indian, so it must be good.

      June 13, 2019 12:57 PM MDT

  • 40455
    oh fer cryin' out loud....

    stat·ic e·lec·tric·i·ty
    [static electricity]
    1. a stationary electric charge, typically produced by friction, which causes sparks or crackling or the attraction of dust or hair.
      June 13, 2019 1:19 PM MDT