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static electricity Electric charges at rest. Electrically charged objects have either too many or too few electrons. Coulomb's law describes the forces that charged objects have on each other and relates the force to their charge and the distance between them. Static electricity can be produced by friction. Electrons may then jump off as a spark, shocking anyone touching the object. Static electricity is used in xerography, the most common form of photocopying. Lightning is a larger result of static electricity. This form of electricity is studied in electrostatics.