Scientists have solved an 80-year-old physics thriller

Scientists have solved an 80-year-old physics thriller

Abstract particle physics illustration

The research discovered that charged mosaics are a direct consequence of ESD.

Contact electrification (CE) was mankind’s earliest and solely supply of electrical energy till in regards to the 18th century, however its true nature stays a thriller. As we speak it’s thought of an necessary part of applied sciences comparable to laser printers, LCD manufacturing processes, electrostatic portray, separation of plastics for recycling, and many others., in addition to a serious industrial hazard (harm to digital programs, explosions in coal mines, fires). in chemical vegetation) resulting from electrostatic discharges (ESD) that accompany CE. A research printed in 2008 Nature easy adhesive tape ESDs in vacuum have been discovered to be highly effective sufficient to provide sufficient X-rays to take an X-ray picture of a finger.

It has lengthy been assumed that two contacting/sliding supplies are charged in reverse and uniform instructions. Nevertheless, after CE, every of the separated surfaces was discovered to hold each (+) and (-) prices. The formation of so-called cost mosaics was attributed to the irreproducibility of the experiment, the inherent inhomogeneity of the contacting supplies, or the overall “stochastic nature” of CE.

Professor Bartosz A. Grzybowski

Professor Bartosz A. Grzybowski. Credit score: UNIST

Analysis group: Professor Bartosh A. Led by Grzybowski (Division of Chemistry) from the Heart for Gentle and Dwelling Matter, inside the Institute for Primary Sciences (IBS). Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has studied attainable sources of cost mosaics for over a decade. The research is anticipated to assist management probably dangerous electrostatic discharges and was just lately printed in a journal.

Charge Mosaics on Contact Charged Dielectrics

Figure 1. Charge mosaics on contact-charged dielectrics. (a) In a conventional view, two electrically neutral materials (grey) are brought into contact and then separated charge uniformly (lower left), one positive (red) and one negative (blue). In an alternative scenario (lower right), each surface develops a highly non-uniform ‘charge mosaic’ with neighboring domains of opposite charge polarities. (b) Collage of charge mosaics reported in the literature (the years and scale bars are indicated). Credit: UNIST

In the paper published recently in Nature Physics, the group of Professor Grzybowski shows that charge mosaics are a direct consequence of ESD. The experiments demonstrate that between delaminating materials the sequences of “sparks” are created and they are responsible for forming the (+/-) charge distributions that are symmetrical on both materials.

“You might think that a discharge can only bring charges to zero, but it actually can locally invert them. It is connected with the fact that it is much easier to ignite the ‘spark’ than to extinguish it,” says Dr. Yaroslav Sobolev, the lead author of the paper. “Even when the charges are reduced to zero, the spark keeps going powered by the field of adjacent regions untouched by this spark.”

The proposed theory explains why charge mosaics were seen on many different materials, including sheets of paper, rubbing balloons, steel balls rolling on Teflon surfaces, or polymers detached from the same or other polymers. It also hints at the origin of the crackling noise when you peel off a sticky tape – it might be a manifestation of the plasma discharges plucking the tape like a guitar string. Presented research should help control the potentially harmful electrostatic discharges and bring us closer to a true understanding of the nature of contact electrification, noted the research team.

References: “Charge mosaics on contact-electrified dielectrics result from polarity-inverting discharges” by Yaroslav I. Sobolev, Witold Adamkiewicz, Marta Siek and Bartosz A. Grzybowski, 8 September 2022, Nature Physics.
DOI: 10.1038/s41567-022-01714-9

“Correlation between nanosecond X-ray flashes and stick-slip friction in peeling tape” by Carlos G. Camara, Juan V. Escobar, Jonathan R. Hird and Seth J. Putterman, 23 October 2008, Nature
DOI: 10.1038/nature07378

“The mosaic of surface charge in contact electrification” by H. T. Baytekin, A. Z. Patashinski, M. Branicki, B. Baytekin, S. Soh and B. A. Grzybowski, 23 June 2011, Science.
DOI: 10.1126/science.1201512

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