Friction and Charge (Physics Pre-AP 11th Grade)

When a fuel truck is moving, the friction between the truck tires and the road causes charge to build up. This is an example of charging by conduction.

a. Explain why the build up of charge is a hazard.

b. What can be done to prevent the hazard that would otherwise be produced from the build up of charge?

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  1. Here are my guesses for the answers:

    A. The hazard of charge build up is that the truck could catch on fire. The static buildup could spark. If it did the fuel and air, all at the same time would allow for it to ignite. The static discharge would cause an explosion into fire, which would be very dangerous and difficult to control once it started.

    B. One thing that can be done to prevent this hazard is to attach hanging SOMETHING(???? would this have to be a insulator (such as rubber straps) or a conductor (such as metal chains)????) from the bottom of the truck or on the bumper to dispel the build up. This form of grounding, which is defined as the process of connecting a body to the Earth to eliminate excessive charge, would allow the charge to flow to Earth and dispel the charge buildup. Thus, the hazard would be removed.

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  2. I agree with your A answer, and the conducting conducting chain part of B.

    I disagree with book's statement that the charging of the truck is by conduction. It is the direct result of friction. There is a name for it: triboelectricity.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are among the rare few who show any work or thought at this website.

    I think you will do well with your coursework. It is a fascinating but difficult subject, and those who learn it well are usually rewarded, whether they become physicists or not. Best of luck.

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