The Effects of Spray Lubricants on the Triboelectric Charge of Plastics

Our objective was to measure the effects that silicone and WD-40 sprays have on the triboelectric charge of three plastics: CPVC, HDPE, and PETE. The triboelectric charge is the charge created by two materials when they are rubbed against each other. Our hypothesis was that if the plastics were coated with WD-40, their final charge would be lower than if they had no coating at all, because WD-40 and silicone spray are both lubricants designed to eliminate friction. To measure these charges, we coated the plastics with one of the sprays or no spray, and then rubbed it with a piece of cotton cloth to charge the material. To ensure consistency, the plastics were rubbed with five back and forth motions. We then placed the charged plastic onto an electrometer, which gave us a reading of the triboelectric charge emitted. Our ANOVA test showed no noticeable difference in charge among our three groups. The silicone, WD-40, and no spray all yielded similar charges, and gave us enough cause to reject our hypothesis. We conclude that spraying these plastics with these lubricant coatings before charging does not reduce the triboelectric charge the plastics accumulate.

Research Done By:

Alex Franz
Fraser High School

Matt Walkowicz
Sterling Heights High School