# How can electricity be static? It’s very existence is a literal definition of something in motion.

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How can electricity be static? It’s very existence is a literal definition of something in motion.

In: Physics

>How can electricity be static? It’s very existence is a literal definition of something in motion.

“Static electricity” usually refers to a *charge*, not to electric flow. Electric flow only happens if that charge is, well, discharged.

That’s kinda like asking why is my hot food hot?

Heat is energy, energy is moving, why isn’t my food moving?

There are two kinds of charges, let’s call them positive and negative. Equal charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other and usually stuff is neutral (equal amounts of positive and negative charge).

Now if you add, move or remove charges from something that isn’t able to revert the process (insulating material), then you create a local charge imbalance. that for example attracts or repels stuff and if something comes in close contact so that the electric field (dependent on the inverse of the distance, so the closer the stronger) is so high that air becomes conductive, you’ll have a spark discharge (a tiny lightning), between the charged object and for example your finger.

In that case you have a current of charge moving from one place to another but if you just carry a charged thing around, then it’s static, the charges aren’t moving.

Static electricity isn’t static, it’s just the name we give it.

It’s actually arising from a charge on one item, and a lack of a charge on another, that when you join them together they create a path that facilitates the electricity (electrons) to flow.

This is more related to “potential”. If an item at A is at a high potential, and an item at B is at a low potential then, eventually, depending on the potentials and the distance and the materials between (e.g. air), the potential difference will overcome the resistance of the materials and thus create a flow of electricity. Like air pressure at point A and a lower pressure at point B, eventually the high pressure will burst into the low pressure area naturally and try to “even it out”. We call potential difference “voltage”. Voltage overcoming a particular resistance will generate current, which is the movement of electrons.

A “static charge” is just a potential building up on one item, that’s all. It stays on that item. Not “still”, but just around that item and flowing around it, a bit like a high-pressure weather front, it is constantly swirling and evening itself out and moving, even microscopically but it stays over the same mountain. But when the high-pressure is put next to low-pressure, the high-pressure air will blow into the low-pressure area, and the same with the potentials and electrons.