Physics Question #1185

missy cunningham, a 20 year old female from portsmouth asks on January 12, 2003,

Every time we go to our local grocery store and get a buggy that does not have a chain hanging from it (which just touches the ground) we get shocked when we go to get something out of the freezers why is this? When we get a buggy that has a chain on it we don't get shocked.

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on January 16, 2003

Rolling the buggy along the floor causes static electricity to build up in you and the buggy, probably because of some combination of the plastic in the buggy wheels and the flooring of the grocery store. When you touch the metal on the freezer you get a shock as the static electricity goes to ground. The buggies with chains don't have this problem because their static electricity is always discharging to the ground through the chain and it never builds up enough to shock you.

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