Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is caused by a number of factors and is commonly generated by the contact of materials. It can be produced by everyday occurrences, such as a person picking up a piece of polystyrene packaging or walking across a carpet; it can even be caused by dust in the environment.
Positive and negative charges are stored in materials and carried by people. The human body is capable of storing a charge up to 25,000V. This charge is then dissipated (ESD) through the receiving object as the current seeks an unimpeded path. An object’s metal chassis will often act as the conductor for the static to strike, but it can occur through other materials.
Static control is especially critical in the manufacture of electronic assemblies and components such as circuit boards and semi-conductors.
As it is almost impossible to avoid static-generating actions the best way to avoid damage to ESD sensitive equipment is to create an environment that inhibits the build up of static. This can include the exclusion of highly charging materials from the controlled area and using grounding mats, such as Dycem’s contamination control mats or flooring, which are proven to dissipate static at 108 ohm and reduce the damage it can cause.