You touch someone and you get shocked. It’s as normal as life itself, and its scientific name is the triboelectric effect, also known as: static electricity.
How is static electricity produced?
Everything is made up of atoms—absolutely everything. Atoms have a nucleus with positive particles (protons) surrounded by other negative particles (electrons). If the number of protons and electrons of an atom is the same, the charge is neutral.
However, if two atoms enter into friction, one of them can lose or gain negative charges. The imbalance that is created at that time is static electricity.
Those shocks when touching someone are nothing more than a current of electrons passing to an object with a positive charge to re-establish the electrical balance.
Why does it shock people?
It’s usually because of the excess electrical charge that accumulates in insulating materials through which electricity does not circulate very well. When this insulating material enters into contact with any other object that has a positive charge, it releases electrons, and this is what causes that dreadful shock.
When you read the list of the most common insulating materials, you’ll remember that sweater and those shocks. Some materials with poor electrical connectivity are: wool, nylon, polyester (which nearly all carpets are made of), pet fur, and human hair.