Before explaining ESD flooring, the first thing to define is ESD itself, which stands for electrostatic discharge. ESD is the release of static electricity when two objects come into contact.
Some recognizable effects of static electricity are the shocks you can experience when you slide out of a car in dry weather and feel that lovely zap. The human body is shocked when the voltage exceeds about 3,500 volts. Another example is when a person walks across a carpet, generating 35,000 volts. This many volts of ESD being released at one time is not life-threatening but can still cause pain.
The small “zap” mentioned above might not seem like much, aside from a painful annoyance; but the static electricity makes a considerable difference to electronics. Even something as small as 10 volts of static can impact the integrity of electronics. Therefore, static could damage your equipment without you ever seeing or feeling any shock. That’s when ESD flooring products come in to help.
Adding a layer of protection
Using ESD in flooring protects electronics from damage caused by static electricity. This static electricity accumulates as people walk. That electricity accumulation with the conductive elements, such as carbon, graphite or those metal-coated particles, distributed throughout the flooring material gives an electrical pathway from the walking surface to the ground.
ESD flooring is a grounded, static, dissipative floor or conductive floor covering with an electrical resistance between 2.5 by 104 to 1.0 by 109 Ohms. The static electricity continues to build as a person walks. The static is discharged as soon as the person meets another object.
Static electricity is first discharged through your hands. Walking across the floor from point A to point B or simply sliding out of a chair at work can produce enough static electricity to damage equipment in the workplace. Keep in mind, however, that until a minimum of 3,500 volts, that electrostatic discharge cannot be detected.
Installing ESD flooring
ESD flooring is ideal for workplaces with computers, electronics and larger-scale electronics systems. This flooring prevents operational failures, such as dropped calls and system-wide outages. The previously mentioned failures and outages can cost a company hundreds of millions annually. Along with the hefty monetary concerns come the loss in productivity and product failures. This type of flooring is used inside air traffic control towers, electronics manufacturing facilities, computer labs, hospitals and radio stations.
That’s why you need to know where to use ESD flooring within your facility. Besides the static control function, the installation must meet your operation’s performance requirements. To learn more about ESD flooring, review PIP’s InhibiStat for complete ESD-control flooring technology.
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