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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/16/2005 10:56:59 AM EDT
from: news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050916/od_nm/australia_electricity_dc;_ylt=Ahb0Gn6I_cxfl.aaWl8.LXis0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3ODdxdHBhBHNlYwM5NjQ-


Power-dressing man leaves trail of destruction


SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.

Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.

When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet.

"It sounded almost like a firecracker," Clewer told Australian radio Friday.

"Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt."

Employees, unsure of the cause of the mysterious burning smell, telephoned firefighters who evacuated the building.

"There were several scorch marks in the carpet, and we could hear a cracking noise -- a bit like a whip -- both inside and outside the building," said fire official Henry Barton.

Firefighters cut electricity to the building thinking the burns might have been caused by a power surge.

Clewer, who after leaving the building discovered he had scorched a piece of plastic on the floor of his car, returned to seek help from the firefighters.

"We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited," Barton said.

"I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never come across anything like this," he said.

Firefighters took possession of Clewer's jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.

David Gosden, a senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Sydney University, told Reuters that for a static electricity charge to ignite a carpet, conditions had to be perfect.

"Static electricity is a similar mechanism to lightning, where you have clouds rubbing together and then a spark generated by very dry air above them," said Gosden.



Link Posted: 9/16/2005 10:59:36 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:00:34 AM EDT
if this is a doup it's one of the best ones I've red to date.

Now you got me wondering if I can do that.

Still un real story
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:03:13 AM EDT




Where can I get clothes like his? Sounds like a great party gag.


right up to the part about possible spontaneous combustion that is!
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:04:51 AM EDT
can you imagine shaking that guys hand on accident?
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:05:53 AM EDT
This is freaking insane.
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:05:54 AM EDT
COOL
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:06:38 AM EDT
Musta been wearing a smoking jacket.
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:08:35 AM EDT
I think the story is fake. At any rate, building up several thousand volts of static electricity on your body is quite common, particularly in dry climates.

Another thing, "static electricity" and "current" do not belong in the same sentence.

GySgt D
-former Electro Static Discharge/ Electro Magnetic Interference Program Manager
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:09:31 AM EDT
40KV is well within the realm for the static electricity. I'm surprised the spark started the rug on fire though.

Quite a freak incident.
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:10:57 AM EDT
So.... when I scuff the carpet and let the cat sniff my finger,
how much voltage is in the mini-lightening that makes him jump to the ceiling?

I'd have guess more than 40,000 volts, since it is just static.

Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:12:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bostonterrier97:

Firefighters took possession of Clewer's jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.





I thought "static" and "current" were opposites regarding electricity.

Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:13:11 AM EDT
I see this gettting an upcoming spot on Mythbusters
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:20:22 AM EDT
Someone get this man some fabric softener STAT!
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:24:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/16/2005 11:24:41 AM EDT by mcnielsen]

Originally Posted By Lumpy196:
COOL



+1
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:24:51 AM EDT


Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:25:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GySgtD:
I think the story is fake. At any rate, building up several thousand volts of static electricity on your body is quite common, particularly in dry climates.

Another thing, "static electricity" and "current" do not belong in the same sentence.

GySgt D
-former Electro Static Discharge/ Electro Magnetic Interference Program Manager



Furthermore, voltage and current are very entities. Current will kill you, if at the correct frequency. But,

there are devices that you can purchase for massage purposes that send 1,000+ voltages through your

body just at such a high frequency that it doesn't penetrate very deep; basically just exciting the skin.
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:36:55 AM EDT
Guess his 'lightning rod' wasn't 'up' to the task.
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:48:52 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:49:47 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:56:48 AM EDT
are volts alone enough to ignite carpet?
wouldn't there need to be some amperage too?
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 11:59:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Nightdriver:
I see this gettting an upcoming spot on Mythbusters

+1
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 12:00:57 PM EDT
I want to know how to store this power. I would like to be running my A/C for free.

Link Posted: 9/16/2005 12:07:42 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 12:20:32 PM EDT
it is funny, last winter we had a video on th enews of a local fuel station that erupted ina fireball because someone ignored the signs and got in and then out of their vehcils while leetting it fill up.

Built up too much of a charge and ignited the fumes. Still far and away from leting carpet though
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 12:20:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 4GodandCountry:
Furthermore, voltage and current are very entities. Current will kill you, if at the correct frequency.




Eh... ??

Link Posted: 9/16/2005 12:37:16 PM EDT
Touch the cat on it's ass and watch it run!
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 12:43:53 PM EDT
Amperes are the issue. 1 is enough to kill. The flow of columbs/sec
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 1:00:25 PM EDT
I call BS on the story...

Having used a VanDegraff to saturate every ounce of surface capacitance in my body as a kid, you can NOT light the carpet on fire. Sorry but total BS. Even if the guy had 100 Farad caps in his pocket.
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 1:07:30 PM EDT
I call BS.

When you get shocked by static discharge, the pain you feel is actually a micro-burn at the point of contact. Even if we assume some part of his body/clothes acted as a capaciter storing the static charge from the interaction between the shirt and jacket - any amperage large enough to catch the carpet on fire would have killed him as soon as he grounded himself. Or at least given him serious burns on the grounding point of his body.

40k volts? yea right. I'm sure the fire departments in AUS are all issued lab grade ESD meters ...
Link Posted: 9/16/2005 1:16:26 PM EDT
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