Glossary: Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

Generating a static charge diagram

ESD – electrostatic discharge – is the rapid, spontaneous transfer of electrostatic charge induced by a high electrostatic field.

Note: Usually, the charge flows through a spark between two bodies at different electrostatic potentials as they approach one another. Details of such processes, such as the rate of the charge transfer, are described in specific electrostatic discharge models.

ESD Damage in the Workplace

Illustration broken into four panels. The heading at the top reads: "Command Center With a Conductive Floor that Generates Static". The first panel (top left) shows a command center with people working at terminals. The text underneath reads: "Functioning command center, with a new conductive floor that does not prevent static generation". The second panel (top right) shows someone walking across the floor with static being generated as they walk. The text reads: "A person enters the room. Friction between the soles of her shoes and flooring material generates static. As she crosses the floor, a static charge builds on her body." The third panel (bottom left) shows the person standing at a desk with a headset in hand which the charge has been transferred to. The text reads: “The static electricity on her body discharges to the first person or object she touches—in this case, the headset.” The fourth panel (bottom right) shows the person and a colleague talking to a maintenance man. The text reads: “The sudden rush of electrical current through the headset damages the microcircuits inside the equipment, disrupting data and damaging or destroying components.”
Illustration broken into five panels. The heading at the top reads: "Command Center With a Low Charge-Generating ESD Floor". The first panel shows two workers installing an ESD floor. The text reads: “A low-charge generating ESD floor is installed in the command center.” The second panel (top middle) shows a command center with people working at terminals. The text underneath reads: “When perseonnel move in, the room is fully functional“. The third panel (top right) shows someone walking across the floor. The chair from her shoes is carried across the floor to ground. The text reads: “When a person walks across the floor, the friction generates minimal static, and the grounding material dissipates the charge safely to ground.” The fourth panel (bottom left) shows the person talking to a colleague, a headset in her hand. The text reads: “Because she has no static on her body, when she touches the headset—or a sensitive component—there is no damaging static event.” The fifth panel shows people working at their terminals with no disruption. The text reads: “The command center remains fully functional and people move and interact freely.”
Background graphic is a still from the StaticWorx GroundSafe ESD Flooring – Your Trusted Partner explainer animation. In the foreground at the bottom are two boxes. The top is a bright blue with the StaticWorx logo and "GroundSafe ESD Flooring" underneath in white. The second is a dark blue-gray and includes the text in white: “GroundWorx ESD Flooring – Your Trusted Partner”
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StaticWorx high-performance static-control floors protect electronic components, explosives, and high-speed computers from damage caused by static electricity. ESD flooring is part of a system. Choices should always be based on objective, researched evidence. When you partner with us, we look at all possible items that may need to integrate with the floor, and, focusing on your goals and objectives, help you find the right floor for your application.