Is static less prevalent?

I was watching a fictional story recently that had a recurring plot line of the main character accidentally zapping people when he touched them (and somehow using this to bring someone back to life) and got to thinking, I can’t remember the last time I got a shock. It’s been years at least, maybe more then a decade. I can’t even think of the last time I got the sensation of building up a charge, hearing or feeling the crackling or clinging of static.

But in my childhood and teens it was an extremely common occurrence. A few times a month inevitably touching someone would result in a zap. Going under the covers was often a fun little light on show. Laundry from the dryer was always glued together and crackling. There were even toys based on static electricity.

These sorts of things basically never happen anymore that I notice. There might be a tiny bit of clinging in the dryer if I don’t use dryer sheets but even that is dramatically less than I remember.

Is this a real thing, or just a really odd coincidence in my life only? Are fabrics and electronics subject to stricter controls for safety reasons? Are synthetics just much more popular, and the change over from CRTs to LCDs just creating less stray electrons? Or am I just a less negative person?

It’s your clothes.

As someone who still listens to AM radio I assure you there’s more static than ever before.

In your case, it’s probably fabric softener.

Another guess is that carpets are less common.

I used to have a job operating a machine that printed company logos on industrial webbing (the heavy duty straps with rachets things used in shipping.) Miles of the stuff would run through the printer every day, and in cool, dry weather I would build enough of a charge that when my fingers got close to metal, a visible spark would jump across (accomplished by a tiny crack of thunder.)

Some synthetic fibers are far more staticky than any natural fiber. I used to have a flannel shirt made from 100% acrylic, and you could read by the light of the sparks when taking that thing off.

I have a hall runner rug and it’s the only thing that causes static in my house. The cats won’t walk on it, they walk close to the wall.
In the past my hair used to collect static and fly allover the place. Better conditioners help with that.

FWIW, I get shocked - even in the summer - when I get out of my car. It’s really bad in the winter, but that’s what low humidity will do.

ETA, maybe it’s just me. Hence the avatar.

Synthetic wall to wall carpeting.

Could it be related to global warming? :wink: I know for sure, on the mornings when I stroke one of my cats and we both get a big jolt of electricity, it will be a day to put on my wadmal pants…

Home humidifiers also make a big difference, at least during heating season. Although, even with the advent of modern fabrics AND with a humidifier, winter is static shocking season around here. I recently had a pair of slippers I had to throw away. I’d give off shocks even if I’d just been standing still. I had no idea how it happened (maybe toe wiggling inside of them?), but my SO insisted that they go in the trash, and the problem went away.

I think it’s the trend away from carpets. I certainly still get zapped from time to time. Fleeces (the kind you pull over your head, rather than zip up) are always good for a crackle. We have an acrylic throw over a sofa, and I sometimes get a shock when standing up from that.

The absolute worst thing I’ve found for static shocks, though, is children’s slides made of plastic. I was trying to gently guide my one-year-old down the one at the local park and had to give up due to the really painful zaps (he didn’t seem to mind).

Not only less common, but made from different materials.
Early synthetic carpets often had a lot of acrylic in them; that isa common static generator. Also synthetic clothes. Now most clothes & carpets are made of a blend of fibers, and companies work to limit the static-generating properties.

Plus heating systems have become more complicated. Many include humidifiers, and zone control, so air is less dry.

And there seem to be less metal things to ground yourself against and thus get shocked. In grade school, halfway thru a year we moved to a new classroom wing – really fancy, with carpeting all through the rooms. If you got called on to go to the board, it was painfl – getting a piece of chalk from the metal chalk trays almost always got you a good shock. I was in a school lately, and noticed that the chalk trays are all plastic or manufactured wood these days – no metal.

I was shocked last night. Not a daily thing but it happens to me somewhat regularly. When I was a kid I remember some of us in school rubbing the carpets and trying to do it on purpose but I’ve had it happen outside of my car on asphalt and on metal machinery on concrete floors.

I’m surprised they exist at all. My daughter is in 5th grade and I don’t know if she’s seen a chalk board. I think my older son may have a long time ago.

There’s still plenty of static here in Colorado. It’s pretty dry here, with low humidity.

I think it might be because people don’t wear as much polyester as we did in the 70s and 80s.

Let me guess. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Let me guess. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Yes! I was drawing a blank, so thanks.

I live in SoCal and used to get shocked by car doors all the time, but not for years now that I think about it. Have never had much carpeting in my homes.

Not just you. I get zapped from our newer car every time - but not from the ancient station wagon

Chalkboards are rare nowadays (but not yet nonexistant, even in well-maintained buildings), but if a room doesn’t have chalkboards, it’ll have whiteboards, which also have a tray at the bottom for holding writing utensils. And those are usually metal, too, in my experience. Smartboards will usually have a plastic tray, but they hardly ever get used.