Triboelectric Series: Which Materials Become Neutral, Negative or Positive on Rubbing

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Materials That Become Positive in Charge

The materials at top have greatest tendency to give up electrons

Positive Materials
Positive Materials

Most (+) charges

Air

Dry human skin

Leather

Rabbit fur

Glass

Moderate (+) charges

Human hair

Nylon

Wool

Lead

Cat fur

Silk

Aluminum

Least (+) charges

Paper

Neutral

There are very few materials that do not tend to readily attract or give up electrons when brought in contact or rubbed with other materials.

Neutal Materials
Neutal Materials

Materials that are relatively neutral

Cotton

Best for non-static clothes

Steel

Not useful for static electricity

Become Negative in Charge

The following materials tend to attract electrons when brought in contact with other materials. They are listed from those with the least tendency to attract electrons to those that readily attract electrons.

Negative Materials
Negative Materials

Materials that gain a negative (−) electrical charges(Tend to attract electrons)

Least (−) charges

Wood

Attracts some electrons, but is almost neutral

Amber

Hard rubber

Some combs are made of hard rubber

Nickel, Copper

Copper brushes used in Wimshurst electrostatic generator

Brass, Silver

Gold, Platinum

It is surprising that these metals attract electrons almost as much as polyester

Polyester

Clothes have static cling

Styrene (Styrofoam)

Packing material seems to stick to everything

Moderate (−) charges

Saran Wrap

You can see how Saran Wrap will stick to things on (+) list

Polyurethane

Polyethylene (like Scotch Tape)

Pull Scotch Tape off (+) surface and it will become charged

Polypropylene

Vinyl (PVC)

Many electrons will collect on PVC surface

Silicon

Most (−) charges

Teflon

Greatest tendency of gathering electrons on its surface and becoming highly negative (−) in charge

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