During periods of low humidity conditions, static electricity can be generated walking across a carpet or other floor covering surface. While the consumer will find this irritating it does not mean that the floor covering is defective.
Static Electricity, is the Floor Covering Defective?
The generation of static electricity can be significantly reduced or eliminated.
With carpet, this reduction can be accomplished by having a carpet treated with a anti static product approved for the carpet, and with all floor covering by increasing the relative humidity. Some of the ways to increase humidity are the use of a humidifier, pans of water placed in the areas where the condition is found or the use of indoor plants that require watering.
Basic Concepts in Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)
(Publicly Available Information)Definition: Static electricity is an electrical charge at rest. Static electricity is most commonly created by friction and separation. Friction causes heat which excites the molecular particles of the material. When two materials are then separated, a transfer of electrons from one material to the other may take place.As electrons transfer, the absence or surplus of electrons creates an electrical field known as static electricity. The simple separation of two materials, as when tape is pulled off a roll, can also create this same transfer of electrons between materials, generating static electrical fields.
The amount of static electricity generated depends upon the materials subjected to friction or separation, the amount of friction or separation and the relative humidity of the environment. Common plastic generally will create the greatest static charge. Low humidity conditions such as those created when air is heated during the winter will also promote the generation of significant static electrical charges.
Materials that easily transfer electrons (or charge) between atoms are called conductors and are said to have “free” electrons. Some examples of conductors are metals, carbon and the human body’s sweat layer. Materials that do not easily transfer electrons are called insulators. Some well known insulators are common plastics, glass and air. Both conductors and insulators may become “charged” with static electricity. When a conductor is charged, the free electrons give it the ability to discharge rapidly when it comes close to another conductor with a different potential.
Typical Electrostatic Voltages
Many of the common activities you perform daily may generate charges on your body that are potentially harmful to components. Some of these activities include:
a) Walking across a carpet = 1,500 to 35,000 volts
b) Walking over untreated vinyl floor = 250 to 12,000 volts
c) Worker at a bench = 700 to 6,000 volts
d) Vinyl envelope used for work instructions = 600 to 7,000 volts
e) Picking up a common plastic bag from a bench = 1,200 to 20,000 volts
IMPORTANT NOTICE: This information was taken from a public service bulletin of Reade Advanced Materials and is for informal and general reference purposes only. Please contact the ESD Association or The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in Quincy, MA (telephone number: 1-617-770-3000) for confirmation of this information.