Static Electricity also known as electrostatic is a common phenomena and its effect has significant and serious consequences in home and industries. It’s very disastrous when steps are not taken to prevent its accumulation and subsequent discharge.
It is not too bad to receive small electric shock at home in dry season but when handling electronics, sensitive components are destroyed; and it’s also responsible for explosion where volatile materials and ESD are present. It is of interest to me to expose the effects and how to prevent it.
Col, Jeananda. (1996) found as follows: When two materials are rubbed together (like a balloon and your hair), one will lose electrons and one will accumulate them. Physicists have ranked materials by the order in which they lose or gain electrons. This ranking is called the triboelectric series.
Static charge is developed when two insulators or non metal for example; hair and comb; fur and silk; carpet and rubber and other combinations based on their rank in the triboelectric series rub against each other and are separated, they accumulates enough charges and electric field is created which when it become too strong, electrical resistance of insulating materials suddenly break down resulting in explosion or damage to electronics if not properly contained.
Effects of Static Electricity In Operating Room
CCNR/OCIMF. (2010) found as follows:Electrostatic discharge occurs when the electrostatic field becomes too strong and the electrical resistance of an insulating material suddenly breaks down. When breakdown occurs, the gradual flow and charge recombination associated with relaxation is replaced by sudden flow recombination that generates intense local heating (e.g. a spark) that can be a source of ignition if it occurs in a flammable atmosphere. (p.53)
This is a big concern in Operating Room in hospital where volatile anesthetic gases is being used; there is risk of explosion if the floor is not covered with antistatic materials. Not only that, moving equipments attached with trailing conductor to safely discharge any build up of charges. The effect is not only in hospital, it affects electronic components too. When static charges discharge through sensitive electronic components or board, it will damage the board and that is the reason if you are building a device it is important to consider and guide against the possible effects of electrostatic discharge. if not your system wouldn’t work or when you are troubleshooting, it will cause more damages to your equipment.
‘That is why computer technicians and home computer builders have to guard their computers against the deadly ravages of static electricity, as well as take steps to avoid injury to you. A shock that you can’t even feel can seriously damage your homebuilt computer before you’re even finished building it.
Preventing Electrostatic Discharge
Use of antistatic mats/carpets, floor, clothing and footwear: You should remove any static electricity from your body before you start building your projects or working on any sensitive electronics to avoid damaging your electronics and components. The best way to do this is to ground yourself to allow any static electricity built up in your body to flow away into the ground. This is done by wearing a well grounded conductive rubber wrist wrap and working on antistatic mat; the wrist wrap and the mat conduct any static build up to the general mass of earth
Antistatic Coatings on building, use of antistatic rubber castors for trolleys and attach moving equipments with trailing conductor to safely discharge any build up of electrostatic charges.
Note: “Never use antistatic wrist wrap when working on old computer monitors to avoid electrocution.”
- CCNR/OCIMF.(2010). Static Electricity. International Safety Guide for Inland Navigation Tank-barges and Terminals, Chapter 3, 51-63. Retrieved from http://www.isgintt.org/files/documents/Chapter_03en_isgintt_062010.pdf
- Col, Jeananda. (1996). Static Electricity. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/physics/Staticelectricity.shtml
- How to build your own computer. Retrieved from http://www.kitchentablecomputers.com/static.php