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Thread: holstered firearm acts as a capacitor

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    McX
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    this is something unusual i have noticed lately. everyone knows the winters here are dry, air wise. i use a plastic retention holster for my firearm, and have noticed that as i move about during the day, my firearm seems to build up a charge, that arcs back to my body periodically. not a large shock, but noticeable, and not real often either. but i wonder about safety, could an arc back detonate a shell in the firearm?

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    Nope. Case is a perfect Faraday Cage.

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    Back in my younger days, I used to put a bunch of little capacitors together and cut through soda cans. I set off the primer of .22's. I highly doubt that static electricity in that amount is enough to set it off under the best circumstances.. With the round in the gun, not having massive electricity hitting it on the primer, good to go.

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    McX
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    it wa realy starting to creep me out. sometimes i would hear a zzzt. and i would freeze and wait for the bang. thanks for the info, never heard of a faraday cage. i just don't get out enough. looked it up, it was interesting to see the criminal element had already found a use for it with lined bags, to mask product sensors to trip alarms. i was hoping it could be an energy source, and i would get credit on my electric bill for plugging into the grid at the end of the day i can see it now; open carry heralded as clean renewable energy source!

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    My Electronic Communications professor in college claimed he used copper netting in the walls of his house to make his whole house a Faraday cage so the gubmint couldn't look in on him. He was a bit of a nut job, but in a good way.

    I have never noticedwhether or not my gunwas holding a charge. My stun gun on the other hand...

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    McX wrote:
    could an arc back detonate a shell in the firearm?
    not likely, but you can fry a computer if the case is off and you reach for the motherboard while holding that charge. it doesn't take much static from your hands to bring down a computer. which is why you will see people either wearing ground straps, and/or always grab both sides of the case before reaching in.

    (used to be a computer tech years back)

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    Sounds like a fun experiment to be tried in a very controlled environment! One of those "don't try this at home" things.

    A cartridge inside a gun won't go off. One outside of a gun won't go off if it hits the edge of the cartridge (most likely). But I wonder if it is possible at all if you get a nice big static electricity zap squarely on the primer?

    I would still guess nothing would happen, but sounds fun to try (no, I won't be doing it) :P

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    McX
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    so, if i get this right, the electrical charge travels around the exterior of an object?

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    Regular Member Interceptor_Knight's Avatar
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    A capacitor stores a charge internally. Static electricity builds up on the outside of objects. The largest threat from static electricity is igniting flamable liquids.

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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    Interceptor_Knight wrote:
    A capacitor stores a charge internally. Static electricity builds up on the outside of objects. The largest threat from static electricity is igniting flamable liquids.
    I unintentionally zap my dog once in a while...:what:
    http://youtu.be/xWgVGu3OR4U AACFI, Wisconsin / Minnesota Carry Certified. Action Pistol & Advanced Action pistol concepts + Urban Carbine course. When the entitlement Zombies begin looting, pillaging, raping, burning & killing..remember HEAD SHOTS it's the only way to kill a Zombie. Stockpile food & water now.

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    McX wrote:
    so, if i get this right, the electrical charge travels around the exterior of an object?
    Yes, even in a wire conductor the current of charge is concentrated towards the boundary of the conductor. Your most familiar Faraday Cage like device is your automobile, one of the reasons why it's a good place in a lightning storm.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage

    A capacitor stores charge between the the 'plates' separated by the dielectric insulator by distorting its atoms' electron cloud field.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ectric.svg.png

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    Science time, i'm a fan. U can always use a casing with primer to test. A lot safer. Email Mythbusters. That'd be a fun one.

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    I have a small chain of M16 blanks that i got from an army base. you could always try it with one of those. LOL

    if you wanted to try it in a "safe" environment, build a rig so you can mount the round on a little post, and then mount a stun gun so it's touching it right by the primer, and then attach a string so you can pull the trigger from a safe distance.

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    'Stun gun' does not use/is not static electricity. It is high voltage low current and maybe even AC.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Isn't a static discharge high voltage low current?

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    No. It is an electric potential created by charge separation, by actually moving a charge (an electron) from one substance to another, thru induction, friction, heat or pressure and not involving EMF or a conductor wire necessarily. One of the substances must be a good insulator.

    Making sure that I was not successfully grasping another opportunity to be wrong, I found this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_...ectric_current

    Earlier I mentioned a capacitor and charge separation. If current flows through a capacitor then it has failed and the actual hole burned into the dielectric may be visible.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Thanks, good refresher.

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    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    'Stun gun' does not use/is not static electricity.* It is high voltage low current and maybe even AC.
    the reason i mentioned stun gun is because that's the first/easiest thing i could think of that would work from a distance. i couldn't think of a way to create a little static spark from a distance.

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    Regular Member Lurchiron's Avatar
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    scorpio_vette wrote:
    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    'Stun gun' does not use/is not static electricity. It is high voltage low current and maybe even AC.
    the reason i mentioned stun gun is because that's the first/easiest thing i could think of that would work from a distance. i couldn't think of a way to create a little static spark from a distance.
    Shuffle your feet on the carpeting, then touch your refrigerator with your forehead. Then repeat further backuntil you can't bridge an arc. Then measure the distance to the last arc.

    Science is fun...and sometimes painful .
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    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    No. It is an electric potential created by charge separation, by actually moving a charge (an electron) from one substance to another, thru induction, friction, heat or pressure and not involving EMF or a conductor wire necessarily. One of the substances must be a good insulator.

    Making sure that I was not successfully grasping another opportunity to be wrong, I found this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_...ectric_current

    Earlier I mentioned a capacitor and charge separation. If current flows through a capacitor then it has failed and the actual hole burned into the dielectric may be visible.
    Actually current flows through a capacitor quite freely until it gets fully charged. It then acts as a resistor until the flow is reversed then current will flow again. In an AC circuit a capacitor will freely cause a 90% phase shift of the current but current will flow freely through it. When a hole appears in the "diaelectric" the capacitor has failed and will cause a short curcuit. In DC circuit the capacitor will allow current to flow freely until it is charged. Once it becomes charged it can be quite dangerous if you touch the terminals providing an electric shock that can killwith high voltage capacitors. A static charge built up due to the air, and such things a fur or hair is the exact same thing as a charged capacitor, just normally not as large of a charge.

    In 1700's people found that if theywalked on a wool rug and then touched someone it would cause a spark. Some people would install wool rugs in their "social" rooms so that when their guests would dance and touch each other it would cause a spark and usually the unsuspecting person would jump or hop. That was the origination of calling a party where there wasdancing a 'Hop" or sock hop. :P

    In 33 BC the Greeks discovered that rubbing amber with woll would cause a static charge or spark. The Greek word for Amber was electhron which give rise to the word electricity.

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    PT111 wrote:
    Actually current flows through a capacitor quite freely until it gets fully charged.
    Riiight. "That is why there is a dielectric between the plates." Tom Swift said resistantly.

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    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    PT111 wrote:
    Actually current flows through a capacitor quite freely until it gets fully charged.
    Riiight. "That is why there is a dielectric between the plates." Tom Swift said resistantly.
    The diaelectric is to prevent the actual electrons from crossing over from one plate to the other but the electrical charge crosses quite freely. One plate will build up an excess of electrons while the other plate loses its electrons. Once the plate reaches it saturation point of electrons the charge (electricity) quits flowing. In a DC cuicuit you can eaily see this using a voltmeter and ampmeter. When you first place the capacitor in the circuit the voltage across the capacitor will be zero while the current flowing in the cicuit will be quite high. As the capacitor reaches it maximum charge the voltage across the capacitor will increase and the amount of current will stop flowing. In an AC circuit the capacitor will almost act as a short circuit depending upon the frequency and voltage of the circuit. Physicis speak of current flowing from negative to positive but Engineers speak of current flowing from positive to negative.

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    All this capacitor talk I gotta add that if you hold a lighter to one for long enough it will explode. So be carefull if you ever get the urge to do that.

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    I sell capacitors for a living, but I am certainly not an electrical engineer. The capacitors I sell are for AC power systems (home/office).

    They remove the "dirty power" or "electrical pollution" - hell there are many names for it. But the "noise" on the lines. Such high frequency signals can not only wreak havoc on electronics, but can also wreak havoc on the human body. I work with a lot of people whose health is affected by it.

    www.nature4less.com - my site - see the Stetzerizer products

    www.stetzerizer-us.com - my distribution website

    www.stetzerelectric.com - manufacturer's website



    It's a very fascinating field - no pun intended

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