Some help from creative sciencey types?

Damini

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Greetings and salutations, freddyshouse nublings. I'm hoping someone who's got more of a science brain than me (which does include frogs and Jade Goody, as an indicator of how bad I am) can help me out.

For the book I'm writing, Tom's Dad works in a sock factory, and is trying to patent the Anti-Static-Shock Sock(TM), with the grand aim of stopping those annoying those annoying sparks everytime you touch a door handle or someones eye.

Except, I have no clue how you would stop static shock, and I fear seven year old kids writing to me to explain just exactly how I'm a tool. I've been warned they are very good at doing that kind of thing.

It doesn't need to be particularly good, the less practical ideas might actually be better, but I'm of the school of thought where static electricity is harvested by static fairies, so I'm just dribbling out of the side of my mouth everytime I try to design something.

I did have a basic idea, of a sock, with a thing coming out of it like bumper cars have, except trailing across the floor instead of the ceiling, but I have no idea if that would work, or make someone spontaneously combust.

Please help me? Someone design an anti-static-shock sock (TM)?
 

Loxleyhood

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Well, GCSE physics wasn't my thing, but it's something to do with the transfer of electrons between non-metals. Each electron carries a charge of -1. If one non-metal transfers an electron to another, that non-metal will gain a positive charge.

Of course I'm probably completely wrong, and should get back to posting girlies in the babe thread, which is far more suited to my abilities.
 

babs

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Make it out of cotton?

The trailing earth lead would only work if the floor was either metal or reasonably conductive, not something carpet is famed for. It depends as much on the surface people are walking on as the footwear.

disclaimer: If anyone who knows better recognises my post as bollocks, please be gentle.
 

tRoG

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Well, anti static wristbands work by attaching a coil on them to a grounding point, which stops you from getting zapped all the time - I don't know exactly how it works, though. Will Google for a bit :)

Also, some shoes, particularly those with thick rubbery soles, build up one hell of a lot of static. Maybe your socks could stop that, somehow.

Here: http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/static.html
 

fatbusinessman

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tRoG said:
Well, anti static wristbands work by attaching a coil on them to a grounding point, which stops you from getting zapped all the time - I don't know exactly how it works, though. Will Google for a bit :)
There you go then - just have socks which you can connect up to the nearest ground point (probably either a radiator or the ground wire in an electrical socket).

Might slightly restrict your mobility though...
 

babs

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Here's a thought, why remove it at all? Why not make a small pack worn in the pocket which stores the charge from the socks, and a small insulated fingertip covering with an exposed metal point. The next person to annoy you gets stung by a mysterious bee.
 

Cyfr

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You could have small rubber pads on the bottem of your shoe to stop the friction and stop the electrons moving and giving a positive or negative charge..

Or, weave a conductive fiber into the sock which would cause no static to be generated.
 

tRoG

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I'd like to see an anti static hat. When I was in Austria the other week, every time I took my hat off (It's rather cold there), my hair would be swarming with static. It was bloomin' painful.
 

SawTooTH

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Walking around bare footed still wont earth you on a nylon carpet. Its just something you have to live with I'm afraid. I think it gets worse with rubber souled foot wear. I have a pair of shoes I just cant wear because I get jolts from my car and other people etc. :eek2:
 

Mazling

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_electricity

Frictionless socks? A wire from feet up to a watch or a headlamp or something?
I like the bumper car idea :) Though the cat would need shock proof socks now ...
Maybe tie the thing into the national grid or the blender or something. Exercise before you eat? :wij:
 

SAS

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I'm a bit rusty but...

(pretty sure this is right) Material picks up postive/negative ions that causes a charge to form and from this static forms whereby the ions want to be attrached to something negative or postive depending on the charge of the material or you at the time.

In this case socks rubbing across carpet causes ions to be picked up and thereby charging the socks and you (postive or negative ions... one of the two but can't remember which :/)

(The rest is right) To remove static touch anything grounded. I.e. a radiatior which sends the static charge to "earth". Hence the term "earthing yourself".

Different types of materials hold charge better than others. Nylon is a kind of plastic and plastic does not hold any charge so socks made out of that should lower the charging...
 

Athan

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Just make them out of some composite material that is conductive enough in and of itself. If it conducts, then the charges will always spread out instead of building up on the surface.

Yes, that 'anti-static' foam that CPUs often come on is simply conductive.

-Ath
 

xane

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SAS said:
(The rest is right) To remove static touch anything grounded. I.e. a radiatior which sends the static charge to "earth". Hence the term "earthing yourself".
Yeah, the good old radiator, us geeks always touch the radiator to earth ourselves before demolishing a PC, but the lesser mortals not savvy with the science behind it, so we explain it's an old tradition dating back to Charles Babbage who always banged his head on the radiator when he was knobbing Lady Lovelace.

How about socks with little radiators attached to them ?
 

dr_jo

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Basically, you need somewhere for the built up charge to go to. And you need it to go there the whole time rather than building up, cos that's when it jumps across air gaps and gives you shocks and stuff.
The trailing wire type thing isn't bad actually. Have you seen those things trailing behind cars? People had them fitted to take the static away from their car, as they kept getting shocks from it. The fact that it actually does nothing, and the static was built up on the people is almost irrelevant...
Conductive materials is probably the most realistic answer, but I can't see children being very excited by that...

I'm afraid I don't really fit into your description though. Scientist, kind of, Creative, not in the slightest.
 

Will

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A strip of copper down the back of the sock would do it...until you put your shoes on.
 

Munkey

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a battery that is charged by all the static energy....perhaps powering a heating device in a jacket? i dunno
 

Tom

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dr_jo said:
Basically, you need somewhere for the built up charge to go to. And you need it to go there the whole time rather than building up, cos that's when it jumps across air gaps and gives you shocks and stuff.
The trailing wire type thing isn't bad actually. Have you seen those things trailing behind cars? People had them fitted to take the static away from their car, as they kept getting shocks from it. The fact that it actually does nothing, and the static was built up on the people is almost irrelevant...
Conductive materials is probably the most realistic answer, but I can't see children being very excited by that...

I'm afraid I don't really fit into your description though. Scientist, kind of, Creative, not in the slightest.
Actually I thought those strips were designed to reduce car-sickness, which some people believe is related to the fact that your (metal-bodied) vehicle is moving through a magnetic field (the earth), and thus creating small eddy currents, which cause havoc with the old brain matter. Or perhaps its just motion-sickness :)

Anyway Damini, your socks should have long aerials that are strapped to the wearer, and poke out over their heads. This way, they will become attractors for lightning strikes, and as we all know, lightning is built up by the movement of electrically charged clouds in the atmosphere, and some people say that lightning actually fires upwards, so that would get rid of the static charge.

Its bullshit, but entirely believeable bullshit :)

Another idea is for the static charge to be transferred to the wearer's legs, and make their leg hairs stand on end, which would serve the dual purpose of supporting the elastic in the socks, and making them not fall down during use (the hairs would dock with tiny micro-ports, to secure them in position).

I'm going to pose this question to some of my more enlightened collegues on an industry mailing list. I'll let you know what they say.
 

Gumbo

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There is an earth strap device that you put down your sock and then strap around your shoe. One of our drivers wears one, as otherwise she gets really mental shocks off everything. She got it when she worked for a mobile phone repair shop, I'll ask her if it has a brand name so i can give you a link.
 

Tom

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A few replies so far, the best:

Now this is my kind of thread, none of that boring ipod or Big Ben stuff.
I propose that we hold a Wood Norton Weekend on this subject alone!! :-}

My idea is to build a light bulb into the sock. So when the static builds up, the bulb lights up and discharges the static. Having seen those trendy trainers that flash as people walk, this idea could catch on.
bvious, innit!!!

First you have to harvest your material. The best stuff is Tweedy-Kord, and everyone knows the best Tweedy-Kord comes from the Tweedle fields in Devon.

What do you mean, never heard of them??

The Tweedle fields are adjacent to the Treacle mines, (home of Devon
fudge...) and because of the naturally occurring sweetness of the soil, Tweedle takes on a stickiness all of it's own.

Once spun into Tweedle-Kord, the stickiness attracts all manner of things - dust, pollen and of course, static electricity.

To make use of the electricity captured by the Tweedy-Kord, you'll need to add 1% of Fairy Filament (from Gno-Place-Like-Gnome, Barnstaple) to the cloth when you weave it. It has to be EXACTLY the right amount. Too little, and it won't work, too much and you'll literally blow your socks off.

When knitting the socks, take care to leave a couple of loose threads to connect to useful devices.

Lights for walking in the dark, a small fan fitted to the top of the shoe for keeping the feet cool on hot days, or maybe a little radio on an ankle strap if you fancy a dance.

On really cold days, connect the two threads together, and the socks will heat themselves up, to warm your chilly toes.

Best regards,

Richard Merrick
CEO - THE DAFT BRUSH COMPANY
I'll post more if they're any good.
 

Xavier

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Surely the simplest solution is to wear cotton socks? It's only synthetic materials such as nylon which generate huge amounts of static... The worst scenario I guess would be shuffling across a nylon carpet in synthetic slippers with nylon socks and a full shell-suit while rubbing a baloon on your bonce and a bulb in your mouth... In fact you could probably use that as one of the test-criteria in the factories test-lab ;) heh

A good demo of static electricity back when I was doing physics was tinkering with the Van der Graaf machine (the one in the recent teaching advert on TV with the kid looking like a dandelion and the almost bald teacher) - googled for a quick photo:







Oh, and Damnini - Static Made Simple
 

Scouse

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The worst scenario I guess would be shuffling across a nylon carpet in synthetic slippers with nylon socks and a full shell-suit
Static is a massive problem in Liverpool, apparently...


Anyway - if all anyone ever wore was rubber we'd be fine. So live in a fetish club :)
 

Xavier

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Heh, surely the rubber would insulate... we could end up in a situation whereby everyone ends up carrying massive electrostatic charges and simple physical contact was fatal :eek6:
 

L_Plates

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Damini said:
I did have a basic idea, of a sock, with a thing coming out of it like bumper cars have, except trailing across the floor instead of the ceiling, but I have no idea if that would work, or make someone spontaneously combust.
Seriously Damini i nearly choked on my coffee :)
 

Whipped

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I don't believe in static! Static shocks are actually The Devil escaping your body!
 

Bob007

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Why not make it a trainer or somit. A copper backing round the heel. Connected under a nice soft, odur eating sole, to a few metal pins that run through the rubber sole and earth everytime you take a step.


Disclaimer. if this works and anyone makes it, I want half :p
 

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