Many methods exist to reduce, dampen, or inhibit static shock or electrostatic discharge. These methods vary in their use and effectiveness. Anti-static devices are one of the methods that we can use to prevent static shock.
These anti-static devices come in many shapes and forms. For example, there are anti-static devices that we use while we work on fragile equipment. We also have anti-static devices that we use while we transport fragile equipment. Anti-static bubble wrap is one type of anti-static device or physical method that we can use.
So, how does anti-static bubble wrap prevent static shock and prevent damage? Static electricity always wants to travel the path of least resistance. The anti-static bubble wrap provides a conductive cocoon around the equipment which you want to protect. This transfers any electrostatic discharge around the equipment. This transfer relays the electrostatic discharge away from the equipment.
This article will answer more questions relating to bubble wrap in detail. These include:
- Why do we need to use anti-static bubble wrap?
- How does anti-static bubble wrap work?
- How is electrostatic bubble wrap used?
Why do we need to use anti-static bubble wrap?
You may have heard the term static electricity before. We all learn that static electricity causes lightning. What many don’t know is that static electricity can cause serious damage to electronic equipment.
The imbalance of electrical charges within or on the surface of material causes static electricity. The charge will remain stored in the material until it is able to move by means of an electrical current or electrical discharge. This electrical discharge is known as electrostatic discharge or static shock.
Two surfaces which contact and separate can cause a static electrical charge. This will happen when at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electrical current. Due to not being in a conductive state, this will lead to the storage of the electrical charge. The effects of static electricity are familiar to most of us because we can feel, hear, and even see the spark as the excess charge is neutralized.
One of the most common forms of electrostatic discharge is through human contact with sensitive devices. This happens, for example, when you drag your feet across a carpet. Electricity is stored in your body and discharged when you touch another conductor.
The human body and clothes can store between 500 and 2,500 volts during a normal day. The mere act of walking across a vinyl floor can generate as much as 12,000 volts of electricity.
This is more than enough to cause damage to electrical circuits without us being aware of the discharge. In fact, delicate electronic circuitry can be damaged by as little as 25 volts. In most cases, however, it is not a single discharge but many discharges that damage electrical components and semi-conductors.
These charges can take place when you are handling or working on sensitive components. When working on sensitive components, you should always use an anti-static device. You could, for instance, use an anti-static bag, an anti-static wrist strap, or anti-static gloves. When you do this, you protect the equipment while you’re working on it.
It’s of no use if you protect equipment while you’re working on it, but fail to do so when the equipment is being transported. For the same reason, you should properly package components to prevent damage.
If your products are not properly packaged, it can create a build-up of static electricity. This can damage your electrical components. Conductive packaging like anti-static bags and anti-static bubble wrap can prevent this.
How anti-static bubble wrap works
Anti-static bubble wrap actually provides dual benefits when packaging sensitive components. The bubble wrap protects the equipment from electrostatic discharge and provides physical protection.
Anti-static bubble wrap is composed of two layers of low-density polyethylene. The bubble wrap is slightly conductive and forms a Faraday cage around the equipment that is being protected.
A Faraday cage or Faraday shield is an enclosure that blocks electromagnetic fields. A continuous covering of conductive material forms a Faraday shield. When the covering is made by a mesh of conductive materials, it forms a Faraday cage. This shield or cage wards off external static and non-static electric fields by channeling electricity around the object.
Anti-static bubble wrap has two parts. The hydrophobic side is the side closest to the equipment and works by collaborating with the surface of the material of the equipment. The hydrophilic side collaborates with the moisture in the air and confines the water molecules.
The two parts work hand in hand to dissipate the static charge, which may damage the equipment. If this didn’t happen, damage to the equipment could occur.
How is anti-static bubble wrap used?
Bubble wrap provides the perfect solution for the transport of fragile electronic equipment. You can get anti-static bubble wrap in rolls or in premade bags of various sizes. To use the bubble wrap is as simple as wrapping the sensitive equipment or placing it in the bag.
You should keep in mind that you should seal the bubble wrap around the equipment. To seal the bag, you need to use packing tape to secure the covering around the equipment. You can also get bags that have a strip which makes sealing easier.
Bubble wrap provides the perfect solution for the transportation of fragile electronic equipment.
When used correctly, anti-static bubble wrap provides the following benefits:
- It provides the necessary protection against static electricity. It also protects against external physical damage.
- It’s nonabrasive. By their very nature, circuit boards and other sensitive electronic equipment are fragile. Due to the fact that anti-static bubble wrap is nonabrasive, it protects equipment from being scratched and other damage.
- It’s cost-effective. Anti-static bubble wrap is a cost-effective solution to safely transport sensitive electronic equipment. It is also cost-effective when shipping due to its lightweight.
- It’s perfectly suited for the packaging and shipping of electronic components. It doesn’t limit the shape of the equipment. Unlike boxes that can only take certain shapes, you can wrap any shape or form of equipment with bubble wrap. You also get bubble wrap in various forms like sheets, bags, and envelopes, and also various sizes. Almost any electronic component can thus be transported.
- It’s recyclable. Unlike other protective packaging materials, you can recycle bubble wrap for a variety of purposes.
The benefits of anti-static bubble wrap make it the perfect protection for fragile equipment while in transit. It eliminates the danger of any equipment like PCs, monitors, smartphones, or tablets being damaged.
Together with other anti-static devices, it is an integral part of your arsenal to protect your electronic equipment.
- Wikipedia: Faraday cage
- Andrian’s Reviews: How Anti-static Bubble Wrap Works
- Stanley Packaging: Difference Between Regular Bubble Wrap and Anti-Static Bubble Wrap
- Melden: Anti-static bubble wrap
- LPS Industries: Are Anti-static Bubble Bags Right For You?
- Premier Protective Packaging: Benefits Of Using Bubble Foam Wrap For Shipping