Simultaneous measurements of surface force and surface charge demonstrate strong attraction due to the spontaneous transfer of electrical charge from one smooth insulator (mica) to another (silica) as a result of simple, nonsliding contact in dry nitrogen. The measured surface charge densities are 5 to 20 millicoulombs per square meter after contact. The work required to separate the charged surfaces is typically 6 to 9 joules per square meter, comparable to the fracture energies of ionic-covalent materials. Observation of partial gas discharges when the surfaces are approximately 1 micrometer apart gives valuable insight into the charge separation processes underlying static electrical phenomena in general.
Field of Research
029999 Physical Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences