Paul Tiegs to MHAmembers
Trying not to sound like a know-it-all, the explanation is that static electrical charges will accumulate on the container (ie, firebox/enclosure) of anything that is not grounded and burns with a flame. The light emanating from flames is created by electrons jumping energy levels (quantum jumping) as the chemical reactions of the burning process takes place. The more energy involved, the brighter and bluer flames are.
The fact that flue-gas particles are electrically charged has a great
deal to do with how creosote collects preferentially on grounded chimney
walls. Theoretically, a heater or flue/chimney that is not grounded
will not collect creosote in flue-gas pathways. However, even
non-metallic electrically semi-conductive materials like soapstone and
limestone will conduct at least some electrons to ground so there will
be some creosote accumulation due to electrical attractions. Also, the
fact that some non-grounded electrically-insulated heaters still collect
creosote is due to the fact that large non-grounded heater structure
dissipate accumulating static charges from their surfaces into the
surrounding atmosphere; ie, the dissipation of negatively-charged
"ions". So the partially-grounded and large non-grounded heaters will
not generally deliver a lot of static sparks or jolts to touchy users.
The greatest examples I have seen of these effects actually occurring has been in non-grounded small woodstoves installed on ceramic tile floors while burning hot in low-humidity environments.
The fact that these electrical phenomenon do occur and are normal has lead some researchers to try using electrostatic precipitators for lowering woodstove emissions. Most have given up without any success but some others have found that their precipitators produce some significant reductions but that the greatest effectiveness is only when fires are burning with flames in non-grounded stove/chimney systems.
Wow, I think I got carried away on this. More than we all need. Anyway, there is the explanation I have.
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