Electrostatics (also known as static electricity) is the branch of physics that deals with apparently stationary electric charges.

Electrostatics involves the buildup of charge on the surface of objects due to contact with other surfaces.

Although charge exchange happens whenever any two surfaces contact and separate, the effects of charge exchange are usually only noticed when at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electrical flow. This is because the charges that transfer to or from the highly resistive surface are more or less trapped there for a long enough time for their effects to be observed.

These charges then remain on the object until they either bleed off to the ground or are quickly neutralized by a discharge: e.g., the familiar phenomenon of a static 'shock' is caused by the neutralization of charge built up in the body from contact with non-conductive surfaces.


  • The attraction of plastic wrap to ones hand when one has removed it from a package.
  • Spontaneous explosion of grain silos.
  • Damage of electronic components during manufacturing or the operation of photocopiers.
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