Trampolines are always fun to jump on when you have some free time. Both adults and kids, we all love it. But sometimes, jumping on trampolines for a long time gives us electric shocks. Especially when children face it, it becomes scary for them.
So, why do you get static shocks on a trampoline? Most importantly, how can you prevent this from happening? The reason behind this phenomenon and the solutions are all very simple and related to physics. Read more below to find out what they are.
What Is Static Electricity?
Have you ever gotten goosebumps when your skin came in contact with a furry blanket? Or the most common example, did your hair ever stand up and the strands repel each other? All these occurrences are due to static electricity! Now, you may ask, how did electricity get into my hair or my skin? Is that even possible?
Well, yes! It definitely is possible! Static electricity is different from the current electricity that we generally have in our machines. It is the build-up of charge in two objects when they are rubbed against each other. One thing becomes negatively charged, and the other becomes positive. To explain how this build-up occurs, we have to begin with the orientation of an atom.
The Design of An Atom
We know that atoms are made up of protons, electrons, and neutrons. While neutrons are neutral, protons have a positive charge, and electrons are negative. Since protons and electrons are equal in number in a stable atom, their charges cancel each other out, and the particle is neutral.
However, in an atom, protons are bounded in the nucleus, but electrons move around freely in the outer shell.
How Static Electricity Is Created
When two objects, for example, our comb and hair, rub against each other due to friction, electrons in the atoms of our hair gain energy. With this energy, they leave the hair and get collected in the comb.
Now, since there is a lack of negative charge in our hair, it becomes positively charged, and due to the surplus electrons, the comb becomes negative. This imbalance of charge in two objects is called static electricity. Since the comb is an insulator, it will stay negatively charged without dissipating the electricity.
If you bring a conducting material in contact with the comb, it will dissipate the extra charge. A similar thing happens when we become charged and come in contact with metal. We feel a current run through our body, and that is called a static shock. Electrons from the metal get attracted to our positively charged body, and this movement creates a current.
Why Do You Get Electric Shocks from Trampoline?
Now, focusing on the question of the moment, why do we feel static shocks when jumping on a trampoline? Well, it is mainly due to the material that the trampoline is made of. The jumping mat on the trampoline consists of insulating materials like polyester plastic.
These materials are insulators because they don’t allow a flow of electrons but can collect and accumulate them very well. So, when jumping on the mat, your electrons get transferred to the mat due to constant friction. As a result, you become positively charged, and the mat gains a negative charge.
Now, when getting down from the trampoline, you touch the metal bar, and ‘ ‘a voltage difference between the metal and you. Moreover, mother nature always tries to restore balance, and any imbalance is always taken care of. That’s why, following the laws of physics, electrons from the metal bar rush towards you, creating a flow of current.
That is when you feel the static shock within your body. If the friction builds up too much charge, you’ll feel pain as the current flows through your nerves, and the brain registers it as pain. That is why you mustn’t let too much charge build up on you, as a significant potential difference can cause a lot of pain when coming in contact with a conducting material.
How to Stop Feeling Static Shocks?
Experiencing low pulses of static shocks for a moment is fine. You don’t feel much. But if you let this charge build up on yourself for a long time, the voltage difference will keep increasing. As a result, the larger the charge build-up, the more pain you’ll feel when coming in contact with a conductor.
That is why you must prevent static electricity from accumulating on you while on a trampoline. Some of the ways to avoid this are stated below.
Ground Your Trampoline
Grounding your trampoline means building a direct connection to the earth so that any charge building on it can flow straight to the soil. You can do this easily by connecting some metal wires from underneath the mat directly to the ground. As a result, no electrons can accumulate on the trampoline as they will flow straight to the earth.
This will make it hard to build up charge on yourself, and the trampoline will constantly stay neutral.
You feel static shocks when a specific amount of charge or more is built up on you. If you come in contact with a conducting material after a long time, the voltage is larger, and many electrons flow through you. As a result, you feel a more significant amount of pain.
However, just like the trampoline, if you’re constantly in touch with the ground or any such conducting material, the charge will keep flowing out of your body at a constant rate. You would not have to feel static shocks anymore since there was no accumulation of charge.
So, how can you ground yourself? We recommend carrying a metal coin in your pocket or having a safety pin attached to your clothes. This way, the charge will be dispersed simultaneously rather than all at once. You will not have to feel any shocks anymore.
Wear Cotton Clothes
Cotton is a very neutral material. They neither donate electrons nor accept them. That’s why it’s hard to become charged when wearing cotton clothes. They’ll prevent any electron transfer, and you will stay in a neutral state. That’s why cotton clothes are always a great option when on a trampoline.
In fact, cotton is the best option. Because if you wear nylon, wool, or any other synthetic material clothing, they are highly conductive materials. When you jump, your body gets in friction with your clothes. So, if you wear wool or nylon, a lot of the electrons will be transferred, and you’ll become charged in minutes.
Hence, avoid wearing synthetic or wool clothing and choose cotton instead.
If you jump wearing socks or rubber shoes, you’ll get static shocks afterward because these materials are excellent at collecting/transferring electrons. They will have a lot of charges built up, and as soon as you come in contact with metal, you’ll receive a significant shock.
Instead, it is much better to jump barefooted as they do not let much static electricity buildup. However, if you have dry skin, it might be of no use to jump barefoot. So, apply some moisturizer before getting on the trampoline to prevent any static shocks.
Always remember that it’s things like dry skin, dry air, or dry anything that like to store electrons. Water is a conductor of electricity, so the moister something is, the better it will prevent storing electrons.
Use Anti-Static Sprays
They say in the current times, ‘ ‘there’s a product to solve every problem. Well, they ‘weren’t wrong! There are products in the market that solve static electricity as well, and they’re called anti-static sprays. These sprays create a coating on the surface that prevents a charge build-up.
So, you can use these on your trampoline mat as well.
Keep Yourself Moist And Hydrated
As we said before, water is an excellent electrical conductor. So, when you keep yourself hydrated by drinking water, any charge built up on you will flow through the water at a constant rate rather than giving you a continuous shock. Therefore, many people suggest drinking water before hopping onto the trampoline.
You can also use some humidifiers for the air around the trampoline for the same job. A water mist works very well as well. Moreover, if you use some moisturizer on your whole body, that will also help prevent static current.
Therefore, these were ways to prevent static electricity from shocking you when on a trampoline. Use these methods and have fun for a long time jumping without any worries!
Trampolines have always been a fun outdoor activity. But it becomes hard to jump on it for a long time due to the severe static shock it gives when you hop off. Most of the time, our hair becomes a mess. So, why do you get static shocks on a trampoline?
In this article, ‘ we’ve answered it all! Static shocks mainly occur due to the trampoline mat, and you can easily prevent them by jumping barefoot or carrying a safety pin with you. Therefore, we hope the shocks will not prevent you from having fun anymore!
Last Updated on September 5, 2022