Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is an abrupt electrical flow between two electrically charged objects caused by contact between the objects. Lightning exemplifies the concept of ESD. On a smaller scale, the human body is able to carry a charge and cause ESD when touching another charged object.
ESD Safe matting, apparel, gloves, swabs, wipes, and other supplies help ensure your environment is safe from electrostatic discharges (ESD) as much as possible. Very small discharges from static electricity can cause irreparable damage to sensitive components and electronics.
Even tables can carry a charge, causing contaminants to stick to them. Besides airborne particles attaching to surfaces, ESD from humans can damage electronics and semiconductors and can cause electrical failure. ESD Safe products are designed to be non-conductive or to “cage” and dissipate harmful electrostatic discharges. To prevent damage in a manufacturing or lab setting, workers wear ESD gloves or other grounding devices.
Read more about how static control products work.
Why do you need Static Protection?
With uncontrolled electrical flows, materials can be subject to damage. Quick bursts of lightning, invisible to the human eye, in an instant effect electrical components such as processors. With static dissipative material, instead of a quick burst of lightning, static control products provide a way for the electric charge to dissipate slowly without damage to electronics.
Static Control Products Do 3 Things:
- Prevent static generation
- Dissipate or Shield electrostatic charges
- Protects material from particulate contamination
We only notice ESD greater than 3500 volts; however, an ESD of as little as 20 volts can cause electronic damage.
Electronics that have undergone an electrostatic discharge onto them may experience equipment failure months later. Therefore, to manufacture the highest quality products, ESD Gloves are needed for employees that interact with delicate equipment susceptible to damage from ESD and skin contaminants.
Is Nitrile the best ESD material?
Nitrile is the industry standard for ESD gloves. Found in Biotech, Electronic, and Pharmaceutical manufacturing, nitrile gloves are the industry workhorse. The material is naturally anti-static, puncture resistant, chemical-resistant, and durable, making nitrile the best choice for cleanroom applications. And, researchers find cleanroom nitrile gloves to be 17% more comfortable than latex because of its properties that mold well to an individual’s hand.
It is best to choose nitrile as it provides the best barrier protection against cuts and chemicals. However, nitrile is not compatible with aromatic solvents and ketones commonly found in paints and adhesives.
Is Nylon ESD Safe?
Nylon is used frequently in electronic manufacturing and handling because of nylon’s dexterity. Nylon is not suitable for cleanroom environments “due to their very high non-volatile residue values”.1
A Higher NVR values correlates to a lower surface resistance, which decreases ESD strength in high humidity environments. The material, generally coated with a polyurethane-coat, reduces static while increasing grip. Workers won’t have to worry about their glove sticking to any material. The polyurethane-coat provides additional puncture resistance and prevents against the glove shedding its material in high volume applications. Additionally, nylon gloves are compatible with all touchscreen devices.
The polyurethane coating maximizes precision and dexterity by retaining touch-sensitivity and by increasing grip without feeling “sticky”.
Is Latex ESD Safe?
No! Normal Latex gloves generate static, so cleanroom environments need material included with an anti-static additive. With an additive, esd safe latex finger cots will prevent static discharge. 5000 Volts become 0 volts in .01 seconds with Suzuki finger cots.
When working with delicate electronic components susceptible to damage from human contamination, ESD gloves are necessary.
However, other static control procedures and devices will provide protection beyond a single employee’s hands. To minimize static electricity and damaging particulates, there are static control products to fully ground employees entering sensitive environments.
When working with sensitive equipment, ESD swabs protect from static damage. No matter your environment, ESD is controllable and damage is easy to minimize with the proper products.
Justin Hines is an author at Harmony Supply Blog. With over a decade of experience working with cleanrooms, controlled environments, and industrial manufacturers, Justin Hines provides content to Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies.