Have you ever taken off a sweater and felt a surprising shock? That’s static electricity, the buildup of an electric charge. It occurs when two items rub against each other, and electrons are transferred from one thing or person to another. If an object has an excess of electrons, it becomes negatively charged. On the other hand, when something has a lack of electrons, it naturally becomes positively charged. Opposite charges attract, so when a negatively charged object comes into contact with a positively charged one, the electrons will flow from the negative object to the positive one until the charges are balanced.
When the human body carries an excessive positive charge, it is more prone to generate static electricity. This flow of electrons causes the spark or shock that you feel when you touch a metal object after walking across a carpeted floor with socks on, for example. What’s more, static electricity is more common in the winter than in the summer. This is because the air is typically drier in the winter, and dry air doesn’t conduct electricity as well as moist air. Hence, it’s easier for static charges to accumulate on objects.
Although static electricity is usually harmless, it can be annoying and sometimes even painful. There are a few things you can do to minimize static electricity. One effective way involves using a humidifier to add moisture to the air, which increases the humidity in your home and helps prevent static electricity from building up. In addition, since dry skin can also contribute to static electricity, keeping your skin moisturized can also make the buildup of static charges less likely.
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What Did You Learn?
1. According to the passage, which of the following is NOT true?
(A) Static charges can occasionally cause discomfort.
(B) Preventing the skin from dryness can help reduce static electricity.
(C) If an item collects too many electrons, it results in a negative electric charge.
(D) There are no known methods to combat the phenomenon of static electricity.
2. Why does static electricity occur more in the winter?
(A) There is more rain in the winter.
(B) The air has a lower level of humidity.
(C) Cold objects don’t transfer electrons well.
(D) Opposite charges attract each other more easily.
3. Which of the following flows of particles is correct about the occurrence of static electricity?
題解:根據第一段，當一個帶負電荷的物體接觸到一個帶正電荷的物 體時，電子會從帶有負電荷的物體流向帶有正電荷的物體，直 到電荷平衡，選項中僅圖(B)符合，故選之。
答案：1.(D) 2.(B) 3.(B)
Words in Use
1. static a. 靜止的，不動的
static electricity 靜電
This fabric is very soft to the touch and prevents the buildup of static electricity.
2. charge n. 電荷 & vt. & vi. 充電
on charge 處於充電狀態
positive / negative charge 正∕負電
positively / negatively charged 帶正電∕負電的
An electric charge flowed through the circuit.
The electron is negatively charged.
3. transfer vt. 轉移
The package was transferred from the sender to the recipient smoothly.
4. excess n. 過量
an excess of... 過量的……
excessive a. 過量的
An excess of vitamins can be harmful to your health.
Excessive drinking can damage one’s liver.
5. generate vt. 產生
The sales promotion generated huge profits.
1. rub against... 和……摩擦
Since the subway was very crowded, my shoulders were rubbing against other passengers.
2. come into contact with... 和……接觸
This lotion should not come into contact with your eyes.
3. be prone to V 易於∕往往會……
= be liable to V
= be inclined to V
= tend to V
If I go out in the sun for too long, I’m prone to get a serious sunburn.
4. build up 累積
Tension between the two leaders has been building up since last year.
5. contribute to N/V-ing 造成∕導致……
Jerry’s cheating contributed to the failure of his marriage.
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