Plastics are naturally resistant to charge, which means that electricity can travel through them easily. Plastic inhibits the flow of electrons and a static charge is unable to dissipate, because of this it can stay on the surface of the object. This is what happens when you touch an object and feel a small electric shock.
While this shock is harmless it can hurt a little but in certain scenarios, this small shock can be deadly. Built-up electrical charges can cause fires and explosions which can be deadly.
To prevent these accidents from occurring companies use anti-static products and additives to minimise the risk of these accidents occurring. ESD flooring, wrist bands, packing, mats and even specialised clothing can be used to protect against ESD.
What are electrostatic discharge materials?
ESD materials are made to lower the risks associated with ESD. They reduce the build-up of static electricity and these materials can be used in many different services.
Because plastics are insulative, ESD materials are mixed with different conductive additives so they can create an electrostatic path and the static energy bleeds off. This process prevents the build-up of electrons.
ESD materials are often divided into subcategories such as anti-static, conductive and dissipative.
How do electrostatic-dissipative materials work?
Electrostatic-dissipative materials are created using insulative plastics and conductive metals. Using electrostatic-dissipative materials allows a charge to flow through them while reducing the charge.
Electrostatic-dissipative materials can ground static energy too so they are useful to remove the risk to vulnerable equipment and materials.
Who can use electrostatic-dissipative materials?
Anyone who needs to protect themselves, their staff or their products and systems from static electricity can use electrostatic-dissipative materials. Electrostatic damage can cause havoc for many businesses with experts reporting that over thirty per cent of damage to electronic devices is caused by electrostatic damage.
More specifically, manufacturing and medical industries often have the highest need for anti-static protection. Electrostatic-dissipative materials can be used in flooring, desks, countertops, benches and workstations.
Any business that handles sensitive equipment or chemicals will often opt for anti-static materials when putting their items into storage.
Why should you use electrostatic-dissipative materials?
Billions are lost every year around the world because of the damage that static does to components. Not only can static cost money but it can also cost lives too. Electrostatic-dissipative materials can be used to alleviate the problem and make insulative plastics more suitable in certain environments.
Neutralising the threat of ESD to the workplace can make your work environment safer, and your business more profitable. If you would like to see how electrostatic-dissipative materials can help your business you should talk to an expert as they will be able to advise you on the best way forward.
Not all businesses will need to have anti-static measures in place but if you do then you would be silly to ignore the dangers that static can cause for your business. You also have an obligation as a business owner to make sure that your business is safe for your employees, if it is not then you could be endangering their lives.