Winter is right around the corner and you'll likely start noticing the subtle pop when opening the car door or walking across carpet with socks on. In this week's 'Science with Sarah,' we're learning what is to blame for the tiny sparks this time of year, called static electricity.
Thomas Lipham, whoworks for the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, explained the all-too-familiar zap we all experience this time of year.
It starts with the basic concept that opposites attract. You have a positively charged area and a negatively charged and when they attract they cause plasma to discharge. Charges neutralize and extra electrons from your hand transfer to the door knob, or the car door, causing the spark to ignite. This is the zap that especially catches your attention when it's cold outside.
Coats we wear when it's cold have many insulating materials and trap in extra electrons, so when youtouch a conductive surface it will allows those electrons to transfer and pop. It's not only the cold weather to blame, though. Lack of moisture creates more of an insulating environment, which also causes the sting to be more noticeable in dry weather conditions.
Until the humidity makes its way back into Arkansas, expect that frizz and shock factor walking both in and out of the door.