[Physics] How is it possible that I get electric shocks from so many things


This probably isn't the typical stack exchange question, but I still hope someone can explain this to me 🙂

A read in the title I get a lot of electric shocks, here are some examples

  • If I get in or out a car and touch the metal chassis (I think this is quite common)
  • If I press the button of the elevator, even when I wear gloves (I don't get this I mean gloves aren't great conductors :') )
  • When I touch the rubber part you rest your arms on on an escalator (Again rubber?)
  • When I plug in something in an electrical output (like my mobile phone charger), these shocks really hurt bad
  • When I touch a person

And many more things

I guess most of it is just static current, but I don't get how I can get shocked while there aren't any conductors, nor why it happens so extremely often to me, like 5-10 times a day, and not to a friend.

This isn't such a serious question but any explanation would be great 🙂

Best Answer

Things that build (+) charges include but are not limited to dry skin, dry hair, leather, glass, nylon, wool, many animal furs, and silk.

Things that build (-) charges include but also are not limited to silicon, PVC, rubber, scotch tape, shrink wrap, saran wrap, styrofoam, polyester, and conductive metals.

If you rub (+) items on (-) items, a charge will build. The shock is from a built up (+) charge on your skin (and/or clothes and hair) dissipating rapidly over a small area of skin, such as your fingertip. The name of the game in avoiding shocks is to avoid building up a (+) charge. This can be done by frequently discharging yourself. You can do this by staying slightly wet or carrying coins that you touch before touching the things that usually shock you. A good moisturizing lotion, conditioner for your hair, and a humidifier for your home will all help you to stay wet enough to avoid being shocked. You don't need to be damp. You just don't want to be very dry.