WHAT IS ELECTROSTATIC DISCHARGE?
The ESD protective symbol is used to identify items that are specifically designed to provide ESD protection.
ESD is the sudden discharge of an accumulated electrical charge between two objects as they separate or brush against each other. Discharges at elevated voltages can often be observed in the form of a visible spark and felt by a person. Secondary events caused by ESDs, like a fire or short circuited equipment, are responsible for billions of dollars in losses for manufactures each year.
What Causes ESD?
Static buildup generated by the rapid movement of particles over composite, fiberglass, wood and metallic surfaces, or by rubbing and sanding across different materials is a major cause of an electrostatic discharge. Environments with low humidity increase the likelihood of a charge buildup and discharge.
Why is ESD Awareness Important?
The importance of ESD awareness extends beyond the adverse effects to an employee experiencing a mild shock as they sand. An electrostatic discharge can also:
- Ignite flammable gases, vapors and dusts.
- Cause pinholes in coatings, leading to surface imperfections.
- Damage electronics and mechanical equipment.
- Present a health hazard if static shock is great enough.
The key to preventing an electrostatic discharge while working is providing an avenue for the charge to dissipate away from the operator, sensitive equipment, or combustible material. A copper ground wire, being an excellent conductor, is used to create an alternative path away from the operator for any voltage buildup. Each ESD tool in our webshop is equipped with a copper ground wire that must attach to the earth ground of a vacuum system or directly to the ground of the electrical outlet for the electrostatic dissipating capabilities to function properly. In addition, (2) 1 Megaohm resistors are placed in line with the copper wire to dissipate current upstream and downstream in the event of contact with an electrical current.