How To Protect Yourself Against Electrostatic Shock by Arenro
Static Electricity is all around us all of the time, most of the time it goes un-noticed, but if you have ever
received a shock from a car door, a shopping trolley or a door handle, you are reminded that static
charges exist and can be really painful.
Have you ever wondered what causes these shocks?
In simple terms all static shocks or Electrostatic Discharges (ESD) are a result of a build up of static
charge caused by friction.
When two surface move against each other, electrons are rubbed off one surface and accumulate on the other,
causing a voltage difference to build up between the two.
The actual voltages accumulated depend on the materials, how well they conduct electricity
and the length of time they remain in contact.
If the contact occurs for long enough the accumulated voltage may reach a point where it is powerful enough to
jump very quickly to any other surface holding a different level of static charge. This jump or discharge causes
the feeling of pain when your skin is one of the surfaces.
Ways to protect yourself.
0 to 2,500 - wearing clothes, not normally noticable;
3 to 10,000 - movement against clothing when walking;
10 to 20,000 - rubbing hands along a chair arm;
15 to 45,000 - sitting on a nylon car seat cover;
35,000 and up - walking across a carpeted room.
- 'Touch me first' device such as the Zap Absorber.
Works by painlessly removing static charge when the device is touched.
Clever location of the device can make its use automatic, mounted on a car handbrake lever for instance,
static charge is removed before touching the car door.
Variations are available for car, home, office and personal protection.
- Earth strap device. Works by creating an electrical connection between the wearer and the object
they need to touch. Mainly used in industry to protect electronic components from statically charged workers.
Once attached to the worker these provide complete protection from static shocks, although shocks can be
experienced when attaching the device. Practicallity is limited
by the length of the wire and the need to attach and remove the strap when moving around.
Variations are available for wrist, ankle, etc.
- Heel strap. Works by creating an electrical connection between the user and the floor. Use is limited
to electrically conductive flooring surfaces. Floors may need to be painted with antistatic paint or carpets
treated regularly with antistatic sprays. Charged objects not connected to the same flooring could result in a shock
for the user.
- Ionic device. Works by creating a stream of charged ions that can cancel out the static charge built up on
a body. Effective for small areas, but relatively expensive to buy and run.
- Increase humidity. Moist air helps to dissipate static electricity. Water sprays or water containers around
a room can help. Not really practical in a car.
- Remove clothing. Clothing and footwear are a major cause of static build-up. Not wearing clothes could help but
is not really practical for the majority of the population.