FAQ: Does it do any good to have ESD chairs if the floor is not ESD?
A chain is only as good as its weakest link. In an electrical chain, a weak link creates a breach in conductivity. A loose or disconnected wire is the simplest example: If a wire is loose or a cord is unplugged, the electrical current cannot reach its intended target.
With static control, the idea is to discharge the built-up (static) charge to ground. Static cannot discharge through plastic or other insulative materials. An electrical charge can flow only between conductive objects. A person can wear a heel and/or wrist strap and sit on an ESD chair; if the floor cannot discharge static generated by friction—walking on the floor, moving in the chair—the charge cannot flow to ground. It has no way to get there.
Think of the human body as an isolated conductive object (AKA a capacitor) capable of storing static electricity. When the static-charged person approaches and sits in the conductive chair, the static charge on his or her body immediately flows to the chair—until, that is, both the body and the chair share the same charge. We call this sharing potential.
ESD Floors Ground Static Charges
If the chair were on an ESD floor, static charges would flow from the chair, through the flooring material, to ground – the floor would also protect against static when people walked in the space.
On a non-conductive floor, both chair and person are isolated from ground. With no conductive path through the floor, charges remain in place. If the person or chair makes contact with electronic equipment, both will discharge to the equipment simultaneously.
Without a conductive floor, a conductive (or ESD) chair is nothing more than another charged body looking for a place to discharge. Kind of like an accident waiting to happen.
Learning Center Articles
- 7 Common Mistakes Selecting an ESD floor
- A Guide to ESD Flooring Selection
- Avoid Costly Failures: What You Need to Know When Specifying ESD Flooring
- Choosing ESD Flooring for:
- ESD Footwear: What Is It and When Is It Necessary?
- ESD Footwear for Electronics Manufacturing and Handling Applications
- Facility Managers' Guide to Selecting ESD Flooring
- The Need for Due Diligence in Specifying Static-Free Flooring
- Standard of Care for Specifying Floors in Mission-Critical Spaces
- Understanding the Hidden Costs of ESD Flooring