I 100% detest static shocks. It is no exaggeration that it makes me sick and queasy and I always avoid touching anything that can potentially give me a nasty surprise. So when my son told me about his encounter, I started to find out more. How to avoid static shock on a trampoline?
You can avoid static shock on a trampoline by wearing cotton clothes, having bare feet, and using a mister to increase the humidity around a trampoline. It is also useful to drink lots of water beforehand and keep your body moisturized.
In this post, I will go into more detail about static charges and the best ways you can avoid getting a hair-raising shock the next time you hit the trampoline.
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Table of Contents
- What is static electricity?
- Why do trampolines get so much static electricity?
- When is static electricity most likely to occur on a trampoline?
- How to prevent static buildup on a trampoline?
- Why does static electricity on a trampoline hurt?
- How to make static electricity on a trampoline?
What is static electricity?
Static electricity, unlike current electricity, is caused by unequal electric charges inside or on the surface of a material.
When two materials rub against each other, for example, electrons are transferred.
These electrons then cling to one material until they can “jump” onto another.
For example, a charge can be built by rubbing a balloon on your head or dragging your feet across the carpet, but so can regular walking or continuously stroking your head with a balloon!
A charge is transferred from one object to another by simply contacting two dissimilar materials, and because a greater surface area is contacted when rubbing materials together, it can assist in transporting the charge more quickly.
Why do trampolines get so much static electricity?
It is most likely that the trampoline mat may be blamed in this scenario.
We rub our feet on the mat as we jump on it. It’s kind of like how we can induce a charge by rubbing our hands against a chair.
All of this is largely determined by the mat’s composition, which is often made of nylon and poly mesh.
Since nylon is a good electrical conductor, it increases the chances of a static shock.
A poly mesh is a polyester plastic with an open weave that allows for microscopic holes. It resists stretching and shrinking and is ideal for usage outside.
There are two ways that jumping on a trampoline might cause static electricity to build up.
The first is that if you jump on a trampoline while wearing socks, your socks will rub against the trampoline mat’s plastic.
Electrons will leave your socks and you will become charged since polyester is a good insulator. If you have long hair, you will see it start standing on ends.
The second way is by wearing clothes made of polyester, nylon, or even wool.
The garments move against the skin due to the bouncing action, and the friction causes electrons to travel from one to the other.
When is static electricity most likely to occur on a trampoline?
When the air is really dry and you’re on the trampoline wearing socks, static electricity is more likely to build up since there is very low humidity.
In desert states like Arizona, Utah, California, and Nevada, the air is more likely to be dry. In the winter, when there is less evaporation, the same can be said too.
More static electricity can be generated manually by increasing the friction between you and the mat.
Rolling around on the trampoline and skating your socks across the mat are examples of this.
Not only will you experience static shocks, you could also get friction burns when it’s too dry!
How to prevent static buildup on a trampoline?
There are a number of ways you can prevent static from building up on a trampoline. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Jumping barefoot
You can attempt jumping barefoot because if you wear socks, they actually assist in the collection of excess electrons.
You can experiment with different footwear that doesn’t conduct electricity well but going barefoot is likely your best option.
Applying a thin layer of moisturizer to your feet will help too.
2. Wear cotton clothing
Polyester, nylon, and even wool are good conductors of electricity. Because of the moisture trapped in the fibers, wool is actually a good conductor.
This means that the static charge from your clothes rubbing against your skin or the trampoline mat will build up quickly.
Cotton clothing, which is neutral, has a low tendency to exchange electrons with other materials, making it the best outfit for jumping on trampolines.
This is especially so for anyone with dry skin since static electricity can easily build up.
Again, applying some moisturizer on your body will help greatly too.
3. Grounding the trampoline
Although it is not recommended to carry anything in your pockets while jumping on a trampoline, using little metal objects such as keys or coins to ground ourselves is a good idea to prevent static buildup.
They will help you in gradually dispersing the built-up charge because they are good conductors. If you wish to use this method, it is best to put them in zippered pockets so that they don’t fall out.
Alternatively, you can try grounding or insulating the trampoline’s surface.
For example, run some very thin wires under the trampoline and ground it. Remember to leave some slack for the trampoline mat to flex.
Since charges will have a tougher time building up on the trampoline surface, jumpers are very unlikely to then get static shocks.
Rubber-soled shoes act as insulators, trapping a significant amount of built-up electricity in the body.
Because leather is a porous material, you’ll be receiving electrons as well as releasing them as you move around, keeping your charge more equal.
This is very useful when one cannot go barefoot, such as kids doing gymnastics or cheerleading.
5. Install misting fan
Static charge is more easily formed in arid regions.
This is because airborne water humidity is a natural conductor of static charge and will frequently ‘ground’ itself.
This keeps the charge in the air from building up.
While this is a concern in low-humidity settings like the desert, it may also be a problem in many parts of the US during the winter.
You can either fill up a spray bottle with water or set up a misting fan near the trampoline.
6. Anti-static spray for trampolines
This spray prevents a static charge from accumulating on the trampoline mat by forming a thin protective layer.
Anti-static sprays can be easily found in stores or online such as on Amazon.
You can even make your own by following these simple steps:
- One tablespoon each of rubbing alcohol and fabric softener
- Add two tablespoons of water to it
- Mix them up in a spray bottle
7. Fabric protector spray
If you have a fabric protector spray lying around, it could make an effective solution to your static issues.
Choose a fabric protector, particularly the kind used in car upholstery.
The silicone-based compound in these types of protectants will aid to reduce friction between the trampoline’s bed and your feet.
First, the fabric protector should be sprayed all over a towel.
Wipe the trampoline’s whole surface with the towel, including the mat, padding, springs, side rails, and safety netting in all places of the trampoline where people will come into contact.
8. Stay hydrated
And lastly, it does help to keep yourself well hydrated, not just because you want to play on a trampoline without feeling static shocks.
It does help as it keeps your skin moisturized, but there are so many other benefits to drinking water that you should not need any reminders to do so!
Why does static electricity on a trampoline hurt?
When static electricity accumulates, it must be discharged at some point.
When you contact a metal frame or another person, electricity builds up inside you and leaps between you and the other person or object.
Amazingly, it is possible that this charge will be as high as 50 volts.
Both of you are harmed by the voltage of electricity flowing from one to the other.
Your pain receptors are signaling to your brain how irritating it is to have electrons racing through.
If the discharge of electrons is large enough, you might even witness a spark.
How to make static electricity on a trampoline?
If for some reason you wish to create more static electricity on your trampoline, maybe for a good laugh, there are a few simple ways you can do so.
Polypropylene is a common material for trampoline canvas and it becomes negatively charged when it comes into touch with another material.
You will need a material that accumulates a positive charge to properly make static electricity since the static shock is caused by differently charged materials coming into contact.
If your canvas is composed of polypropylene, donning wool, silk, or fur clothing should do the trick.
Another easier way to achieve this is simply by rubbing your hair against the mat. Do this for about 10 seconds and start rolling on the mat.
Be warned though. The electricity might cause some pain. In fact, in some cases, it is even possible to create a spark!