Anti-static devices reduce, dampen, and inhibit static shock. The buildup or discharge of static electricity can damage electrical components. In some instances, it can cause explosions in gas, fuel, or coal dust. Anti-static devices are physical methods that reduce static shock.
In contrast, anti-static agents are chemical methods to reduce static shock. Anti-static agents treat materials to reduce the buildup of static electricity. This, in turn, reduces the risk of static shock. One anti-static agent you can use is an anti-static spray.
So, how does anti-static spray prevent static shock and damage? It prevents static shock and prevents damage by making the material more conductive. This prevents the buildup of static electricity. When you prevent the buildup of static electricity, you reduce the risk of static shock.
This article will shed more light on further aspects relating to this question. These include:
- Why it is important to reduce static electricity
- How anti-static sprays work
- How to use anti-static spray
Why is it important to reduce static electricity?
Did you know that walking across a vinyl floor can generate up to 12,000 volts of electricity? In contrast, you can damage electronic components with as little as 25 volts. The generated charge can destroy the sensitive transistors in integrated circuits. It can also cause a big enough spark to cause an explosion.
An imbalance of electrical charges within or on the surface of a material causes this static electricity. This charge remains in the material until it can move away as a result of electric current or discharge.
This static shock happens when the imbalance of electrical charges neutralize. This static shock is also cold electrostatic discharge. Electronic circuitry and components are sensitive to these electric shocks. As mentioned, these static shocks can cause sparks which can lead to explosions in gas, fuel and dust.
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. This can happen when you drag your feet along a carpet and then touch someone with your finger. Another example of electrostatic discharge that we all know of is lightning.
It is very important to reduce static electricity when working with electronic components. It is also important when working with flammable liquids or in environments where you are exposed to flammable gases.
How do anti-static sprays work?
Generally, anti-static spray consists of a conducting polymer and a solvent made from deionized water and alcohol. Deionized means that the minerals and salts have been removed from the water.
The solution is sprayed on the material where the risk of static electricity should be reduced. When the solvent evaporates, it leaves behind a thin conducting skin. This skin makes the material more conductive and prevents the buildup up of static electricity.
Remember that static electricity forms in a material with high resistance. Thus, making the material more conductive decreases the risk of the buildup of static electricity. It allows the material to dissipate the electricity rather than store it.
Someone spraying their clothes with anti-static spray will cover the surface with molecules that are good conductors of electricity. The molecules have both a positive charge and a negative charge. As a result, any neutrally charged molecules have nowhere to go. This prevents the buildup of static electricity.
Why use an anti-static spray?
As shown, electrostatic discharge can cause damage to electronic components or cause explosions. To prevent this we need an anti-static agent or an anti-static device. But why use an anti-static spray?
Physical methods to prevent static electricity, like mats and straps, have to be worn when the danger of static electricity exists. Also, these physical methods have grounding requirements. In other words, to be effective you have to ground them. They are also less portable because they are used when working at a workbench or a work area and not as portable.
Unlike these physical methods, you don’t need to ground anything when using the anti-static spray. You can also use it in spaces where you don’t have anti-static mats and where there is a risk for the buildup of static electricity.
It is also suitable for use on a wide variety of surfaces. You can use it on your clothes, carpet, furniture and certain pieces of equipment. It renders surfaces static-free and also has the added benefit of repelling dust. It can thus be more practical than other types of anti-static protection.
Besides being more practical, they are generally also easier to use and cheaper. Because of this, you can use an anti-static spray in a variety of environments and for a variety of purposes.
However, always keep in mind you can use more than one anti-static device or agent in conjunction with the other. In that way, you enjoy maximum protection against static discharge.
How to use anti-static spray?
One definite benefit of anti-static sprays is that they are easy to use. Although there are different types and brands of anti-static spray, the following would apply to their use:
- Shake the spray can before every use
- Ensure that the surface is dry and clean before the spray is applied
- Mask any areas that you don’t want to spray with tape
- Apply several thin coats, instead of one thick coat – this is because over-application may reduce the efficacy of the spray
Keep in mind that anti-static spray should not be used outside in wet weather and that it may stain certain fabrics or surfaces.
Also, keep in mind that some brands and types of spray may have usage directions that differ from the above.
Any time you work with electronic equipment or flammable elements, it is a good idea to prevent static electricity. This prevents electrostatic discharge and can prevent costly damage. Apart from costly damage to your equipment, it can also pose a risk to you.
As we’ve seen, there are many ways of preventing static electricity from building up on a material. One of the most practical, cheapest and easiest to use is an anti-static spray. You can apply it to a variety of surfaces – it is effective and it is easy to clean.
More so than other anti-static devices or agents, anti-static spray is an everyday item. It’s easy to use and has many benefits. You apply it to the surface by spraying it, which leaves the surface resistant to static buildup.
Your arsenal against static electricity won’t be complete without this multipurpose spray.