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Vital Static-istics

The amount of static electricity produced by a surface will obviously vary according to factors such as environmental humidity, friction, the area of contact or separation. Here are a few electro stats:

  • Walking across a carpet: 1,500 - 35,000 volts
  • Walking over untreated vinyl floor: 250 - 12,000 volts
  • Vinyl envelope used for work instructions: 600 - 7,000 volts
  • Worker at a bench: 700 - 6,000 volts
  • Unwinding regular tape: 9,000 - 15,000 volts
  • Direct Discharge (ESD): A discharge directly to a bag can subject the device inside to a very high voltage which results in melting or fusing of the circuit
  • Static Fields: Fields can induce destructive currents in circuit conductors which can break down circuit dielectric
  • Tribocharging: Friction between the bag and device can produce damaging static voltage and fields

Only discharges over 2,000V will be felt by a person – but less than 100V has the potential to damage a component. It may be too small for the naked eye to see, but it could result in product failures, reduced reliability and increased rework costs, or latent component failures in field equipment.

Items on a workbench or static controlled area, such as conventional stationery, are often overlooked for ESD. Likely to be made from materials that naturally insulate static charges, ring binders, document wallets or clipboards can potentially release charges in close proximity to people or electronic parts.

Human beings are the greatest single source of ESD. Anyone working at a bench in an ESD protected area must wear a wrist strap, even if they also wear foot girders. This allows static potential on a person to equalize with ground.