I need to build a device that can transport bits of paper one sheet at a time. I was thinking of using electrostatic force to attach paper to the rod, stick or whatever. The rod will then move the piece of paper to a different positon where it will place it precisely at the correct coordinates and then release.

I know of course it is possible to use static electricity to attach paper to things, however I don't know if discharging will release the paper? Probably a stupid question, but I've never really seen it done before.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How do you intend to discharge it? And what of e.g. polyester sheets, that can hold charge for a decent amount of time? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2013 at 13:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams - I'm not really sure. I had the idea yesterday, and so far I thought of using some sort of metal contact for the paper, since it would be simple to discharge, I assume. My physics is quite rusty, so can't remember much about electrostatics. How would one discharge polyester? \$\endgroup\$
    – user836045
    Aug 18, 2013 at 14:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about electronic design. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2013 at 15:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you'd do much better to use vacuum instead of static charge to hold the paper. Easily controllable; no shock hazards; extremely common technology for moving objects around on production lines. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin Reid
    Aug 18, 2013 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LeonHeller: This question is on-topic because it relates to "the theory and simulation of electromagnetic forces" (electronics.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic). Not every question has to be about designing a circuit. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2013 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


Discharging the item will definitely release the paper.

However, I would recommend against using static electricity in this case. You can make it work, but the whole thing will be very humidity-sensitive -- for example, if the paper is slightly moist, it might conduct enough electricity to charge whatever is underneath it.


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