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Name: Unknown
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

What is the physics of static electricity buildup on clothes in a dryer? How does a liquid fabric softener in the rinse cycle prevent subsequent static in the dryer?

The static develops in the last part of the cycle, when the clothes are dry; the presence of water or water vapor inhibits its buildup Some materials are charge donors (they fairly readily give up electrons) and others are charge acceptors. Many synthetic materials are one or the other.

Sweaters and socks often seem to make a dandy donor-receptor pair. Fabric softeners are waxy materials distantly related to soap. Fabric softeners work by coating your laundry with lubricant and humectant chemicals. The lubricants let the fibers slide past each other, reducing wrinkling. The humectants help the fabric retain moisture to dissipate the static charges.

R.C. Winther

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