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Never Mind Harnessing The Power Of The Sun, Lets Harness The Power of Wool & Nylon!
Posted: 16 September 2005 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.

Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.

When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet.

“It sounded almost like a firecracker,” Clewer told Australian radio Friday.

“Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt.”

Employees, unsure of the cause of the mysterious burning smell, telephoned firefighters who evacuated the building.

“There were several scorch marks in the carpet, and we could hear a cracking noise—a bit like a whip—both inside and outside the building,” said fire official Henry Barton.

Firefighters cut electricity to the building thinking the burns might have been caused by a power surge.

Clewer, who after leaving the building discovered he had scorched a piece of plastic on the floor of his car, returned to seek help from the firefighters.

“We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited,” Barton said.

“I’ve been firefighting for over 35 years and I’ve never come across anything like this,” he said.

Firefighters took possession of Clewer’s jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.

David Gosden, a senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Sydney University, told Reuters that for a static electricity charge to ignite a carpet, conditions had to be perfect.

“Static electricity is a similar mechanism to lightning, where you have clouds rubbing together and then a spark generated by very dry air above them,” said Gosden.

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FOLLANSBEE, WV; Having been alerted to the coming apocalypse at a recent church service, 6-year-old Julie Strand decided she needed to live for today and immediately stuck a peanut M & M up her left nostril.

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Posted: 16 September 2005 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Ohhhh Hell yeah…..fffire….fffire…....Fire rocks…...

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Posted: 16 September 2005 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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could this be the origin of the SHC phenomenon?

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Posted: 17 September 2005 03:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Snowy - 16 September 2005 10:32 PM

could this be the origin of the SHC phenomenon?

I wondered the same thing when I first read this story, Snowy.  Since SHC has been around longer than synthetic nylon it may not be, unless there is a natural substance similar to synthetic nylon which could cause the same static buildup.

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“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”

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Posted: 17 September 2005 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The small country town mentioned in this story is within a day’s driving distance of the city where I live and grew up in(Melbourne, Australia), so I found this story to be particularly interesting.  My first thought was that it had to be a hoax.  So I tried to find some local country newspaper report of this. Check out http://the.standard.net.au/articles/2005/09/16/1126750111141.html

I have copied that down from the URL address section of my browser.  YOu may need to copy and paste it into yours.  Or google “warrnambool standard” and get to it that way.

Seem to be plenty of details of names etc ,which -in a very small town, would be found out easily if the story was faked.  Then again, you have to ask whwy this sort of thing doesn’t happen often, given the popularity of wool and nylon. Funny thing is: National Geographic’s TV station has, in the last few days, been or will be showing a doco about “spontaneous combustion”.  (sorry, I haven’t seen it; my advertising immunity kicked in). Could be some connection there?  Is that also a hoax?

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