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Should I fear a discharge from Static?


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Old 01-05-2013, 06:15 PM   #11
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and that's what inspired my question. my military experience is with B-52s. I've been around nukes, conventional munitions, and even highly sensitive electronic jamming/countermeasure equipment that helps prevent enemy radars from locking onto the aircraft.

needless to say, static electricity is a HUGE deal on the flight line. before loading any munitions, an aircraft must be totally dead, everything powered off, and even then, they still do "stray voltage checks" before loading, and everything gets statically grounded to each other, and with the ground.


same with refueling operations.

in a ammuntion factory, I would imagine that the biggest risk with a static discharge there, is due to the fact that they have open powder exposed at some point during the process, which I will agree, is MUCH more dangerous and vulnerable to a static spark than an enclosed bullet.

And, I realize that the risk of it is nearly zero, with a static discharge igniting powder in a round simply because it was on your person when YOU experienced a static discharge. I still think I'll play it safe and avoid them though.


and yes, Van DeGraff generator! that's the guys name I couldn't remember.


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Old 01-05-2013, 07:17 PM   #12
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What about those CVA Electra muzzleloaders? http://www.gandermountain.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?i=401634

Seems like a horse with a seatbelt, pass.


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Old 01-05-2013, 07:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 70cuda383 View Post
and that's what inspired my question. my military experience is with B-52s. I've been around nukes, conventional munitions, and even highly sensitive electronic jamming/countermeasure equipment that helps prevent enemy radars from locking onto the aircraft.

needless to say, static electricity is a HUGE deal on the flight line. before loading any munitions, an aircraft must be totally dead, everything powered off, and even then, they still do "stray voltage checks" before loading, and everything gets statically grounded to each other, and with the ground.


same with refueling operations.

in a ammuntion factory, I would imagine that the biggest risk with a static discharge there, is due to the fact that they have open powder exposed at some point during the process, which I will agree, is MUCH more dangerous and vulnerable to a static spark than an enclosed bullet.

And, I realize that the risk of it is nearly zero, with a static discharge igniting powder in a round simply because it was on your person when YOU experienced a static discharge. I still think I'll play it safe and avoid them though.


and yes, Van DeGraff generator! that's the guys name I couldn't remember.
Just a minor correction: connecting everything together is "bonding;" because if everything is at the same potential, no current flows. Beyond that, the bonded system can be grounded, but it then becomes a conduction path for discharge by things of higher potential.

An example would be the folks that work on the ultra-high voltage lines. The first step is to connect yourself to the line (but not ground!!) so there is no current flow.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:45 AM   #14
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I've been in a blasting area years ago and they had signs saying turn off all transmitters and I think radios due to possible signals coming from the oscillator circuit in the old tube radios, this was for electrically fired caps. When I was in the Air Force and got TDY at Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, Alaska I was issued a cotton parka because my nylon parka would have caused static in the dry air. We were all told to ground our fuel filler nozzles before putting them in the fuel filler. All the aircraft that were stationary on the flight line were all grounded. I have been around open gun powder and primers for better than 30 years and have never had a problem, however I will say being around black powder could present an issue as a static spark could set that stuff off. Thing is one generally doesn't have a large amount of black powder exposed at any given time unless you have a black powder canon.

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Old 01-07-2013, 04:09 AM   #15
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Aren't those old timey dynamite detonators with the plunger on top of a wood box just a Van Der Graaf generator with a two conductor wire going out to the charge?

(Edit: Now I want one of those things!)
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikingdad
Aren't those old timey dynamite detonators with the plunger on top of a wood box just a Van Der Graaf generator with a two conductor wire going out to the charge?

(Edit: Now I want one of those things!)
No, they're just a hand-powered DC generator.

A Van Der Graf generator makes static electricity, usually by running a motorized rubber belt against a frayed screen that collects the charge on the surface of the metal globe.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:58 PM   #17
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Maybe we should ask the guys at Myth Busters to find out.

They do like exploding things, you know.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:03 PM   #18
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The rack-and-bar blasting machine is a magneto- shoving down the handle spins a generator that charges a condenser- at the bottom of the stroke the contacts close, and stored current zaps the electric blasting caps. Several hundred volt output on those, BTW.

Back to the OP- no, static is not an issue with LOADED ammo for the reasons given- the loaded cartridge is a mini-Faraday cage. Otherwise we would all have blown up years ago!

When LOADING ammo- in a factory- static IS a HUGE deal. Hence humidity control, bonding systems, etc. For us hobby reloaders- just watch it when pouring powder- especially black- from some types of plastic containers. Factory containers are fine. But the plastic measuring cup you swiped from the kitchen when she was not looking may NOT be OK.

Re: Explosives- C4, detonating cord, etc etc etc pretty much ignore static. ELECTRIC blasting caps (which are headed the same was as 8 track tapes) CAN be fired by static. The signs you see that say "Turn off radios"- with a high output transmitter, IF the length of your leg wires matches the frequency of the transmitter- you can get an "induced" current in the leg wires. 0.25 amps will make a cap shoot.

This also explains why the new caps are either non-electric shock tube caps, or ELECTRONIC caps- each cap has a computer chip- will not shoot until it gets a computer command.

To my brother in arms who hung out at Elmendorf- I was North of you- A LOT North. If you want to see static, sling load a hovering helicopter in Feb. More like a bolt of lightning!
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:04 PM   #19
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More danger maybe if you had a Remington EtronX VSSF rifle. Which is an electrically fired model 700. But they were only made in 2000 to 2003 I think.

http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/special-runs/past-special-runs/centerfire/model-700-etronx.aspx
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:35 PM   #20
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IIRC, the Etron rifles actually needed a specific pulse, not just current. But back in the 60s there WAS a shotgun known as (I think) the Electro-Prime that had contacts on the back of the shell, and a filament inside the shell.

And many military aircraft have cannon that use an electrical ignition system on their guns.


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