# ESD Static Electicity

Every one knows what static electricity is. We have all seen static electricity in the form of lightning or even in the zap when reaching for a door knob. Sliding across the car seat or walking across the carpet can create this charge. The same types of electrical charges can have an effect on the electronic components you handle every day in class. 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 loss or the addition or 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 affected by friction or separation, the amount of friction or separation and the amount of humidity in the environment.
Common plastic generally will create the most static charge. Low humidity conditions such as those created when air is heated during the winter will also cause the creation of static electricity.
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:
? Walking across a carpet, 1,500 to 35,000 volts
? Walking over untreated vinyl floor, 250 to 12,000 volts
? Worker at a bench, 700 to 6,000 volts
? Vinyl envelope used for work instructions, 600 to 7,000 volts
? Picking up a common plastic bag from a bench, 1,200 to 20,000 volts
These activity examples were taken from www.midwestesd.com.
When you feel a static shock, you are experiencing a minimum of 3,000 volts of electricity.
While you can feel electrostatic discharges of 3,000 volts, smaller charges are below what the average human can feel. Unfortunately, these smaller charges can and do damage small electrical devices. Many of the components used in your computer can be damaged by charges of less than 1,000 volts. Some of the more sophisticated components can be damaged by charges as low as 10 volts.
Think of static or esd as a contaminant. As in the human body viruses and disease is not visible but can do loads of damage. esd is the same in respect to not having to give visible signs but doing all kinds of damage to components. These invisible contaminants can be eliminated or reduced by taking the proper step to grounding yourself. This includes wrist straps, mats and other anti static equipment.

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