THE ELECTRICITY MAP:
"Static" Electricity versus
1997 William Beaty BSEE
Are "static" and "current" really two separate kinds of
electricity? I say no. There is only one type of electrical energy.
We usually call it Electromagnetism. It's true that electromagnetism has
a wide variety of behaviors. Its behavior depends on the strengths of the
electric field and magnetic field involved. Electric field corresponds to
voltage, and magnetic field corresponds to current. The "map" below is
intended to show us that "static electricity" and "current electricity"
are really just two fields of science. But electromagnetism itself is a
seamless whole, and the boundaries between its various parts exist only in
Electromagnetism. Also called "E and M." In EM, its electric field
corresponds to voltage, and its
magnetic field corresponds to current. Therefore it's possible to place
"static electricity" and "current electricity" upon different regions of a
single map. The map is plotted in terms of e-field (voltage) on one axis
and magnetism (current) on the other. Does this tell us that there
really is no such thing as "static electricity" or "current electricity"?
Yes! Only electrical devices and electrical phenomena exist, and these
devices and phenomena can have various ratings of voltage and
current. "Electromagnetism" has different regions.
In view of the "electricity map", here is how we usually divide up
Refer to the above map, and note that the left-hand side contains the
things involving "current", while the right-hand side has the "static."
Things aren't perfect, e.g. where do we put the lightning and the high
voltage power lines? These are both electrostatic phenomena and
electrodynamic phenomena at the same time.
Electrical happenings which involve HIGH VOLTAGE at low current.
Electrical happenings which involve HIGH CURRENT at low voltage.
I believe that talk of "two kinds of electricty" called Current and Static
is profoundly misleading. It hides the true nature of electric charge.
It's like saying that there are two kinds of water, pressurized water and
flowing water. Yet water is water, and water doesn't magically turn into
a special kind of substance called "Current Water" whenever it starts
flowing! There is no such thing as "current water," and there is no such
thing as "current electricity." If something is flowing inside of wires...
just say it that way. Don't pretend that a form of energy called "current
If fur rubbed upon rubber causes a high voltage at nearly zero current,
why not simply say so, instead of discussing a nonexisent "kind" of
electricty called "Static?" In truth, "static" is a separation of
negatives from positives, and if the separated charges should move along,
that is (ahem!) ...A *FLOW* OF STATIC ELECTRICITY. 'Static' means
so what the heck is a static flow? Something is seriously wrong with how
we explain electricity. The cure is simple. Cross out the words "static
electricity" everwhere. This forces us to seek out better words to
Other relevant pages on this site:
"Static" and "Current"
'Static' Electricity that Flows
All articles on electricity