Static electricity - uses
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It is used to make photocopies and to reduce waste when spray painting objects.
In a photocopier, there is a special belt that can be electrostatically charged. An image of the original document is made on the belt, the toner (ink powder) is attracted to this and transferred to a sheet of paper. The toner is heat treated to make the image permanent. For much more detail, visit the How Stuff Works
In spray painting, the object to be painted is given an electrostatic charge. The paint spray is made of very small droplets. In the same way that small pieces of paper can be attracted to an electrostatically charged object (pen, ruler or something similar), these paint droplets are attracted to the charged object.
Static electricity can also be used to reduce air pollution. Smoke is made from very small solid particles. If charged plates are placed inside of a chimney, the smoke particles will be attracted. The smoke therefore does not end up in the atmosphere. The plates can then be removed from time to time for cleaning.
Finally, static electricity can be used to direct a fine spray of ink to a precise position on a piece of paper - i.e. an ink jet printer. The same idea can be used to direct the 'cathode rays' (beams of electrons) onto the screen to produce the picture on a (non-LCD) TV set or computer monitor.
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