Tribo-electric charging of dielectric solids of identical composition

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Despite its long history and importance in many areas of science and technology, there is no agreement on the mechanisms responsible for tribo-electric charging, including especially the tribo-charging of chemically identical dielectric solids. Modeling of the excitation, diffusional transport, and de-excitation of electrons from hot spots shows that a difference in local surface roughness of otherwise identical solid dielectric objects leads to different transient excited electron concentrations during tribo-processes. The model predicts that excited electron concentrations are lower and concentration gradients higher in solids with rougher rather than smoother surfaces. Consequently, during contact, the flux of charge carriers (electrons or holes) from hot spots will be greater into the rougher solid than into the smoother solid. These predictions are in agreement with current and historical observations of tribo-electric charge transfer between solids of the same composition. This effect can take place in parallel with other processes and may also play a role in the charging of solids of different composition.




Angus, J. C., & Greber, I. (2018). Tribo-electric charging of dielectric solids of identical composition. Journal of Applied Physics, 123(17).

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