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Electrostatic discharge is a common occurrence. The impact of ESD varies depending on the voltage. High volts of ESD can cause a range of problems, including mechanical failure, coal dust explosions, fuel vapor explosions and bodily injury. Mechanical failures caused by ESD can include junction damage, contact spiking, mental penetrations and gate oxide damage.

Ensuring your ESD floors are correctly installed and follow all the required guidelines can help prevent damage to your floors or environment. During installation, copper strips are placed above the adhesive and below the flooring to ensure there are no gaps between the surfaces. It allows the flooring to work appropriately to reduce static. After installing the flooring and seams, you can then test your ESD floors to ensure they meet the required voltage perimeters.

What to look for when testing ESD floors

ESD floors are tested for electrical resistance and static generation. This can be measured with an ohmmeter, following either ASTM F150 or ANSI/ESD STM 7.1, by placing two five-pound probes three feet apart on the floor and then applying 10 volts of electricity. The static generation is tested using a voltmeter, following ANSI/ESD STM 97.2. It measures the static generated when a person wearing specific footwear walks on the floor.

Measure of resistance

The resistance measures the capacity of the flooring material that resists or reduces the flow of electricity and is measured in a unit of ohms. If the conductivity is too low, static will discharge too slowly, rendering the floor ineffective. If the conductivity is too high, the currents will flow too quickly, posing a safety hazard. The goal is to find the right middle spot between 1x10E5 and 1x10E8 ohms.

Walking body voltages 

Walking body voltage is the static charge that accumulates on the body as a person walks across the floor. A charge monitor is used to measure that voltage. Generating a voltage below 25 volts of static is very good and will not do any harm. However, static that exceeds around 3,500 volts is enough for the human body to be shocked. So, keeping the volts below this number is crucial.

Testing ESD flooring enables the customer to see what they specified in their requirements has been met and is up to standard. In addition, an ESD test determines whether a product complies with its ESD protective area and procedures. After completing tests and ensuring that the flooring meets the specific needs, the industrial ESD flooring is safe to use.

Sean Walsh
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