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
Most (+) chargesAir
Dry human skin
Rabbit fur
Moderate (+) chargesHuman hair
Cat fur
Least (+) chargesPaper


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
Materials that are relatively neutral
CottonBest for non-static clothes
SteelNot 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
Materials that gain a negative (−) electrical charges (Tend to attract electrons)
Least (−) chargesWoodAttracts some electrons, but is almost neutral
Hard rubberSome combs are made of hard rubber
Nickel, CopperCopper brushes used in Wimshurst electrostatic generator
Brass, Silver
Gold, PlatinumIt is surprising that these metals attract electrons almost as much as polyester
PolyesterClothes have static cling
Styrene (Styrofoam)Packing material seems to stick to everything
Moderate (−) chargesSaran WrapYou can see how Saran Wrap will stick to things on (+) list
Polyethylene (like Scotch Tape)Pull Scotch Tape off (+) surface and it will become charged
Vinyl (PVC)Many electrons will collect on PVC surface
Most (−) chargesTeflonGreatest tendency of gathering electrons on its surface and becoming highly negative (−) in charge