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What Is Electrostatic Discharge (E.S.D)?

Electrostatic discharge (E.S.D) is an uncontrolled surge of “static” between objects with different voltage potentials.

Static discharge can occur when two surfaces come into contact and create friction with each other. This builds up an electrostatic charge as one surface becomes positively charged and the other surface becomes negatively charged causing an imbalance. The amount of static electricity generated depends upon the materials subjected to contact or separation, friction, the area of contact or separation, and the relative humidity of the environment. At lower relative humidity, as the environment is drier, charge generation will increase significantly. If the electrostatic charge comes into contact with the right material, it transfers and causes an ESD event.

Types of ESD Damage

There are two types of ESD events, catastrophic and latent defects.

Catastrophic:

  • A device is exposed to ESD and no longer works.
  • The device circuitry is permanently damaged.
  • Such failures are usually caught when tested and before shipping.

Latent: 

  • A device is exposed to ESD and is partially damaged, yet it continues to perform its intended function.
  • Latent defects are much harder to identify since they occur over a long period of time.
  • This may pass testing and be shipped to a customer and fail whilst in service.
  • It can significantly shorten the operating life of the device and it can be very costly.

What Voltage Can Damage Components?

The voltage can be as little as 10 volts depending on the size, sensitivity and type of component. To comply with the British standard 100V is the maximum threshold that can be produced within an EPA.

Typical Electrostatic Voltages

Walking across a carpet: 1,500 – 35,000 volts.

Operator at a bench: 700 – 6,000 volts.

Walking over untreated vinyl floor: 250 – 12,000 volts.

Picking up a common plastic bag from a bench: 1,200 – 20,000 volts.

Potential Difference

Potential difference causes ESD when there is a difference in charge between two objects. These can include work surfaces, articles of clothing, people, flooring and shelving/conveyers.

ESD Symbol

The ESD Susceptibility Symbol portrays a triangle shape icon behind a reaching hand and a slash through the reaching hand. The triangle indicates ‘caution’ and the slash through the reaching hand means ‘do not touch’. The ESD Symbol is applied directly to integrated circuits, boards, and assemblies that are static-sensitive.  It indicates that handling or use of this item may result in damage from ESD if proper precautions are not taken.

How Can You Prevent ESD?

Many industries want to avoid the occurrence of an ESD event and reduce static discharge in the workplace. By ensuring you have the correct grounding equipment such as wrist-straps, heel-grounders, grounding cords, ESD workbench matting and bonding plugs, you would prevent the risk of static discharge from damaging components and entering your EPA.

Our company’s objective is to prevent ESD with our diverse range of anti-static products. By using our anti-static products, it can prevent further damage to electrical components and devices whilst also promoting a static-safe working environment.

If you would like further advice on how to control ESD or if you are interested in our ESD training programme, please contact our sales team either by email, live chat or telephone where we will be happy to help you find a solution and answer any queries. Email: sales@bondline.co.uk Tel: 01793 511000.

Start grounding your workplace with our best-selling ESD products:

Earth Bonding Plug       High Comfort Wrist-Strap        Straight Grounding Leads

 

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