Hot Tip #8 – The Triboelectric Effect

Are you having ironing problems due to the triboelectric effect, also known as triboelectric charging?

This is a type of contact electrification in which certain materials become electrically charged after they come into contact with another different material and are then separated, such as through rubbing. The polarity and strength of the charges produced differ according to the materials, surface roughness, temperature, strain, and other properties. Thus, it is not very predictable, and only broad generalizations can be made. This property, first recorded by Thales of Miletus, suggested the word “electricity”, from the Greek word for amber, ēlektron. Other examples of materials that can acquire a significant charge when rubbed together include blended textiles when rubbed with other blended textiles.

As the Relative Humidity (HR) goes down, or your goods become too dry, this Triboelectric charging will increase. Static bar(s) installed on the ironer or the use of certain fabric softeners are the most common solutions. The most successful solution is to prevent your goods from becoming too dry before they enter the ironer. The wetter the goods entering the ironer the less TRIBOELECTRIC EFFECT you will encounter.