True Story: Man gives off 40,000 volt charge




 
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True Story: Man gives off 40,000 volt charge
 
September 29th, 2005  
Padre
 
 

Topic: True Story: Man gives off 40,000 volt charge


True Story: Man gives off 40,000 volt charge
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.

Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.

When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet.

"It sounded almost like a firecracker," Clewer told Australian radio Friday.

"Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt."

Employees, unsure of the cause of the mysterious burning smell, telephoned firefighters who evacuated the building.

"There were several scorch marks in the carpet, and we could hear a cracking noise -- a bit like a whip -- both inside and outside the building," said fire official Henry Barton.

Firefighters cut electricity to the building thinking the burns might have been caused by a power surge.

Clewer, who after leaving the building discovered he had scorched a piece of plastic on the floor of his car, returned to seek help from the firefighters.

"We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited," Barton said.

"I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never come across anything like this," he said.

Firefighters took possession of Clewer's jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.

David Gosden, a senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Sydney University, told Reuters that for a static electricity charge to ignite a carpet, conditions had to be perfect.

"Static electricity is a similar mechanism to lightning, where you have clouds rubbing together and then a spark generated by very dry air above them," said Gosden.
September 29th, 2005  
ironhorseredleg
 
 
While I'm sure we all get a charge out of articles like these, this one really isn't very well grounded. In fact, an "expert" from another forum really got amped up over this article when it flowed across his forum:

Quote:
by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, @02:38AM
I have a MSEE and feel like feeding the news trolls.

I put more faith in the Loch Ness Monster than this crap. Shame to see it actually in the "real" news.

1. Current is measured in amps, not volts.

2. WTF is the FIRE department doing with a volt/amp meter? Most (cheap) volt meters don't measure past 1000 volts AC/DC.

3. One or two squirts of water from a spray bottle would have completely discharged the jacket -- assuming somehow the natural humidity didn't!

4. and of course the jacket could never have built up such powerful charges as to melt and burn materials...

5. Seems unlikely that static electricity would be likely to flow *through* plastic, a *non-conductor*.

6. For the jacket to "continue" to give off an electrical current, several things must be happening:
a) There must be somewhere for it to go.
b) There must be something actively ionizing the electronics in the jacket. This requires force, external electricity, etc.
c) The "destination" of the current must also remain oppositely ionized. (Otherwise some current would flow and then things would be balanced). Maintaining the ionization of the "path to the destination" would also require external force, electricity, etc.
September 29th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
How revolting!
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True Story: Man gives off 40,000 volt charge
September 29th, 2005  
Missileer
 
 
This very moment I am wearing an anti-static wrist band and lab jacket. ESD is a way of life with me because we have to take a two hour class every year at work. Read this article on static electricity discharge and you will be an expert too.

http://www.esda.org/aboutesd.html


ESD Fundamentals
Links to Other ESD Resources

Introduction to Static Electricity
In ordinary circumstances, static electricity and ESD are little more than an annoyance. However, in an increasingly technological age, the familiar static shock we receive when walking across a carpet can be costly or dangerous.

This same static discharge can ignite flammable mixtures and damage electronic components. Static electricity can attract contaminants in clean environments or cause products to stick together.

The cost of ESD-damaged electronic devices alone ranges from only a few cents for a simple diode to several hundred dollars for complex hybrids. Loss of production time in web processing industries due to static attraction is significant. When associated costs of repair and rework, shipping, labor, and overhead are included, clearly the opportunities exist for significant improvements in reducing losses to ESD and static electricity.

http://www.reade.com/Safety/esd.html

Typical Electrostatic Voltages:

Many of the common activities you perform daily may generate charges on your body that are potentially harmful to components.

Some of these activities include:

a) Walking across a carpet= 1,500 to 35,000 volts
b) Walking over untreated vinyl floor= 250 to 12,000 volts
c) Worker at a bench= 700 to 6,000 volts
d) Vinyl envelope used for work instructions= 600 to 7,000 volts
e) Picking up a common plastic bag from a bench= 1,200 to 20,000 volts
September 29th, 2005  
Springfield
 
 

Topic: Re: True Story: Man gives off 40,000 volt charge


Quote:
Originally Posted by Padre
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.

Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.

When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet.

"It sounded almost like a firecracker," Clewer told Australian radio Friday.

"Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt."

Employees, unsure of the cause of the mysterious burning smell, telephoned firefighters who evacuated the building.

"There were several scorch marks in the carpet, and we could hear a cracking noise -- a bit like a whip -- both inside and outside the building," said fire official Henry Barton.

Firefighters cut electricity to the building thinking the burns might have been caused by a power surge.

Clewer, who after leaving the building discovered he had scorched a piece of plastic on the floor of his car, returned to seek help from the firefighters.

"We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited," Barton said.

"I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never come across anything like this," he said.

Firefighters took possession of Clewer's jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.

David Gosden, a senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Sydney University, told Reuters that for a static electricity charge to ignite a carpet, conditions had to be perfect.

"Static electricity is a similar mechanism to lightning, where you have clouds rubbing together and then a spark generated by very dry air above them," said Gosden.
Hah, yeah right. lol
September 29th, 2005  
Marinerhodes
 
 
I would definitely agree that some things will generate static electricity, but the simple fact will remain that when he took off his jacket and "handed" it to the firefighter one or the other (of the two) would have been VERY uncomfortable from the discharge that would have had to heppen.

Think of it this way, when you generate static and shake hands you sometimes shock the other person...*ponders that little tidbit*..now imagine handing over 40,000 volts of electricty...*ponders some more*...

Definitely bogus..need to send that to Myth Busters lol..
September 29th, 2005  
ironhorseredleg
 
 
In the interest of education

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/cons...eccurrent.html

There's some really shocking stuff in there.
September 29th, 2005  
Padre
 
 
All I will add, is that this story got TV news and radio coverage in Victoria, Australia. It wasn't just a newspaper story. We saw the parties involved being interviewed - "electric" man, firemen, police, etc - ALL TRUE - and the experts above are right it shouldn't happen but that's why it was an amazing story because IT DID HAPPEN. They televised on the news witnesses and the burn marks.

The jacket is going to be sent to Area 51 and stored next to the Ark of the Covenant
September 29th, 2005  
ironhorseredleg
 
 
Oh, gads no! Can you imagine the danger all those alien exhibits are going to be in if the jacket ends up touching the ark??!!
September 30th, 2005  
ghost457
 
 
lol, this stuff is hilarious!!!