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26/07/2017 Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

ESD Flooring
Answers to Common Questions on the Topic
We have an access oor in our computer room. Cold air ows
across cables under the oor. Does the air ow create static
electricity? If so, are personnel or hardware at risk?
This is a common question with a straightforward answer. No, the air ow beneath an access oor poses no
static threat whatsoever.

Static electricity is generated by contact and separation. Air ow causes static electricity only when the air is
particulate-laden and the particulates are large, meaning numerous and visible. For example, in sand and dust
storms that occur in dry climates, sand and dust particles are blown into and away from billboards and plastic
signs. The contact and separation between the particulates and the charged surfaces generates static
electricity, leaving high charges on the billboards and signs. In the these situations dust and particles will cling
to the sign or billboard due to the static generated.

Remember: it is the particulates in the air, not the air itself, that causes static electricity. Normal aireven the
air in a typical wind stormdoes not contain enough particulates to charge up other surfaces. Like
compressed air or the air circulated by a forced hot air system, the cold air (even if it is very dry) owing under
an access oor cannot generate static electricity: the air owing across cables under an access oor poses no
threat of static shock to personnel or hardware.

We are currently updating our workspace for potential ESD

issues. We are trying to meet ANSI/ESD S20.20-2007 while
controlling costs as much as possible. Could we get away with
using bare concrete in place of an ESD tile oor?
This question has as much to do with aesthetics, as it has to do with static control performance. Obviously if
you are asking this question about your current facility, you are the only person who can answer the impact
bare concrete has on the impression your oor will have on customers and visitors. However, from an
electrical perspective, there are several factors that should be carefully considered.

1. Bare concrete can provide excellent electrical properties capable of meeting S20.20. I have measured
the conductivity of some concrete that I found to be too conductive only to see that same concrete
measure almost insulative during the span of the same year. This broad performance di erential would
be a hard sell to a knowledgeable auditor (or customer) as part of any ISO certi cation process. Bare
concrete with high conductivity usually means a damp and often musty building.

2. The electrical resistance of bare concrete will usually vary up to 2 orders of magnitude in either
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3. Bare concrete will often absorb vapor from the soil below and become dangerously conductive.

4. If you choose to stick with bare concrete you should test the resistive properties of your oor with an
ohmmeter on a regular basis.

5. We strongly suggest performing ESD S 97.2 body voltage tests to determine if the bare concrete will
maintain voltages below 100 volts.

6. If you use any areas of the factory for "hi pot" testing you should procure and install rubber insulating
mats to protect your personnel from possible electrical shock hazards.

7. You need to set an absolute minimum ooring resistance. We strongly suggest 100,000 ohms for a
factory environment and 1,000,000 ohms for an operational equipment environment.

These videos might help you expand your research:

ESD Flooring: Static Dissipative vs. Static Conductive

Testing Your ESD Floor

Making Sense of ESD Standards for electro static discharge problems

ESD Grade Flooring Could Be Too Conductive

What is the di erence between static dissipative and conductive

ESD oors are categorized based on their electrical resistance properties. Resistance is measure in ohms. A
static conductive oor measures between 25,000 and 1,000,000 ohms also expressed as 2.5 X 10 E4 - 1.0 X 10
E6. A static dissipative oor measures between 1,000,000 ohms and 1,000,000,000 ohms also expressed as 1.0
X 10 E6 to 1.0 X 10 E9. Floors should never be purchased solely based on whether they are categorized as
conductive or static dissipative. Conductive oors should never be used in end user operational equipment
environments. This white paper documents a study comparing the performance of conductive and static
dissipative carpet tile. Watch this short video to understand the importance of de ning the right ohms range of
your oors: ESD Flooring: Static Dissipative vs. Static Conductive

Would I be better o with an anti static, static dissipative or a

conductive oor?
This question usually indicates a lot of confusion. Fortunately we have guidelines and standards to help us
identify and properly specify the right oor. Finding the right oor means matching that oor to the speci c
needs of your environment. A oor that might perform very well in combination with anti static footwear in an
electronics manufacturing facility might be too conductive and also ine ective in a data center or 911 public
safety dispatch operation because people wear regular footwear in those areas. Watching these two videos
should help alleviate confusion and provide a good starting point for research.
How to Choose Anti Static Carpet Tile for 911 Call Centers and FAA Applications

How To Meet ANSI/ESD S20.20 With ESD Flooring

How are static dissipative and conductive properties added to


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Static control ooring di ers from standard ooring. Unlike standard ooring, static control oors allow
electricity to move across and through them. Regular ooring stores or holds electricity and generates static
charges on the people who walk on it. Regular ooring cannot be grounded. Static control ooring dissipates
or conducts electricity and other electrical currents to ground. Static control oors can be grounded.

Almost any type of ooring can be made into a conductive or static dissipative oor. The most common way to
produce a static control oor is to add carbon or graphite to the standard ooring formula. Here are a few
examples of how this is done:

Epoxy oors are made using liquid catalyst driven resins. Carbon particulate or carbon bers are added to the
epoxy while it is in liquid form. Depending on the percentage of the additive we can produce a highly
conductive epoxy oor for explosives handling or if we add a slightly lower percentage of the additive we can
create a static dissipative version.

Standard carpet tile is a static generator. If we wrap carbon loaded bers around the exterior of the tile's nylon
laments, we can turn a static generating carpet into a static control oor. Depending on the type of carbon
ber and the design of the carpet tile, it is possible to control the ohms resistance of the tile and create either
static dissipative or static conductive ooring. Since carpet tiles are rarely used in explosives handling
operations (conductive ooring required), most carpet tile applications are for end user environments that
require the static dissipative version.

This video provides an overview of static control ooring options: What is electro static discharge (ESD)

How long do conductive and static dissipative properties last in

ESD ooring?
Properly designed, static control properties should last as long as the oor itself. Most conductive and static
dissipative oors are manufactured using materials like carbon, graphite and silver. These are elemental
conductive or dissipative materials. As long as these additives are bonded to the ooring in adequate
concentration, they should provide static dissipation forever. Some ESD ooring materials lose their ability to
eliminate static because of outside in uences like maintenance. For example, ESD vinyl tile will become a static
generator if it is polished using generic oor waxes.

If something is anti static, does that mean it will dissipate or

conduct electricity?
The terms anti static and conductive are independent of one another. When we describe a oor as anti static,
we mean that the oor will not generate static electricity charges under speci c circumstances. Those
circumstances could be limited to certain shoe sole materials like anti static footwear or leather shoe soles. A
oor does not necessarily need conductive properties - or to have the ability to conduct - in order to inhibit the
build-up of static on people walking on it. However, any anti static oor that does not dissipate or conduct
electricity is made using anti static sprays or additives. These additives will usually lose their anti static
properties in a short amount of time. Anti static properties are generally expressed as "charge generation" in
volts or kilovolts (kV.) An anti static oor can not be grounded unless it has conductive or static dissipative
properties. Conductive and static dissipative properties are expressed using a unit of measure called the ohm.
This video explains the di erence between static dissipative and conductive.
ESD Flooring: Static Dissipative vs. Static Conductive

Could a conductive oor endanger people working around

operational energized equipment?

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Standards organizations do not recommend conductive ooring in end user operational equipment
environments. Conductive ooring o ers no static control advantage over static dissipative ooring in
controlling static accumulation on people walking on the oor. For example, this August, 2011 independent lab
study compares the charge generation performance of static dissipative carpet tile against conductive carpet
tile. The static control results are nearly identical with the slight advantage in favor of the static dissipative
carpet. Keep in mind that a conductive oor potentially exposes workers to more electrical current than static
dissipative ooring in the unlikely event of a stray voltage or short circuit. There is no incentive to sidestepping
grounding standards like ATIS, and Motorola R56 when it comes to liability and personal safety around
electricity. These videos may provide further understanding on the subject.
How to Choose Anti Static Carpet Tile for 911 Call Centers and FAA Applications

Testing Your ESD Floor

ESD Grade Flooring Could Be Too Conductive

Do conductive and static dissipative tiles need to contact one

another in order to be grounded?
Static control tiles dissipate static from the top of the tile to the bottom of the tile - not side to side. If we place
two tiles tightly against each other and measure electrical continuity from the top of one tile to the top of an
adjacent tile, we would likely measure a very high resistance. A high resistance indicates no electrical continuity
between static control tiles. The conductive adhesive eliminates this problem. Conductive adhesive acts as an
electrical conduit between all the tiles in an installation. Without conductive adhesive, each tile would be
nothing more than a small ungrounded island. With conductive adhesive, the tile tiles become one single
grounded static control surface.

How does relative humidity a ect the performance of an ESD

Static generation occurs more easily when the climate is dry. Static also stores better on surfaces when the air
is dry. Sometimes an ESD oor will appear to perform when the humidity is over 40 percent. This is quite
normal with carpet. Any ESD carpet should be tested at least as low as 12 percent relative humidity. Unless the
carpet is loaded with carbon bers, most carpets will fail below 20 percent RH.

Can new oors be installed over old?

This is one of those questions that should be answered only by a quali ed ooring professional, based upon
either a site inspection or a lengthy conversation. Almost any oor can be installed over an old oor as long as
the old oor is in good condition and well-bonded to the sub oor. Some oors are much easier and less risky
to install over old oors. Vinyl, for example, can be installed over existing vinyl. However, vinyl is sti and
unforgivingit could delaminate if the adhesive does not cure well or if the surface is slightly uneven. The
possibility of failure is much greater installing vinyl over vinyl than it would be if ESD carpet were installed over
old vinyl. Carpet tiles are exible and the release adhesive bonds extremely well to old vinyl and epoxy. Many
installers prefer installing carpet tiles over old vinyl rather than over new concrete. Often, the choice of
installing over old oors involves a decision to avoid removing old vinyl because it contains asbestos and the
cost of removal might be a budget buster.

Why should I worry about moisture protection with ESD


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Moisture permeation through concrete slabs can wreak havoc with all types of ooring. Several years ago, the
Rubber Association determined that levels exceeding 3 pounds of moisture per 1000 square feet per 24 hour
period caused serious problems, such as delamination, adhesive breakdown and adhesive oozing. High
moisture can also lead to the development of bacteria and molds, which, in addition to causing foul odors,
contribute to sick building syndrome. The industry standard test for moisture permeation is the calcium
chloride test. The test is simple and accurate. For the reasons stated above, high readings must not be ignored

How do I ground materials and carts to a conductive tile oor?

Add conductive drag chains and casters to materials and carts to ground them to esd ooring.

The photo to the right shows a recently completed Conductive Vinyl tile installation. This client plans to use
"wire shelf carts" to move electronics assemblies around the oor. Even though this oor is grounded and
conductive, the cart will not be grounded as its wheels are insulators. Static cannont drain through an insulator
even if that insulator is resting on an esd, anti static oor. The cart shown in the photo does not have a
conductive drag chain or conductive casters. Adding conductive wheels or drag chains to the cart provides a
path for charge in the cart to drain to ground, in this case the conductive oor.

Read more

Does it do any good to have ESD chairs if the oor 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 chain ends;
the electrical current does not reach its intended target. With static control, the idea is to discharge the built-up
(static) electrical current to ground. A person can wear a wrist and/or heel strap and sit on an ESD chair, but if
the oor cannot discharge the static generated by friction-walking across the oor, moving in the chair-the
charge cannot ow to ground. It has no way to get there.
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Remember: a static charge cannot discharge through plastic or other electrically insulative ooring materials.

Think of a person's body as an isolated conductive object (AKA a capacitor) capable of storing static electricity.
Kind of like a two-legged Van-de-Gra generator. When the static-charged person approaches and then sits in
the conductive chair, the static charge on the body immediately ows to the chair-until both the body and the
chair share the same charge. We call this sharing potential.

An electrical charge can ow only between conductive objects. Since the oor is non-conductive, the charge
remains static. In the scenario you have described, the chair and the person remain ungrounded because they
are isolated from ground. There is no conductive path through the oor. If either the person or the chair make
contact with electronic equipment - both will discharge to the equipment simultaneously. Without a conductive
oor, a conductive chair is nothing more than another charged body looking for a place to discharge. Kind of
like an accident waiting to happen.

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I have a #6 AWG copper conductor and the copper strip/tape -

how to I best MATE those together ? Or how do I ensure
conductivity across the oor?
What you're really asking is this: how do I ensure continued conductivity across the static control oor? The
answer must involve your choice of static control ooring.

First, there are several di erent types of static control oor covering. All possess di erent properties and some
of the oor coverings have limitations. For example, Armstrong manufactures a product called SDT. Armstrong
SDT requires special waxes to make it perform. Some antistatic broadloom cannot be grounded at all because
it is not conductive.

Staticworx® vinyl tile is a permanently conductive material that requires no special care to remain
conductive. Waxes are not needed. Our vinyl tiles can be grounded using a simple 24 inch long, 2 inch wide,
copper strip under one tile. We provide the strips as part of our package. The other end of the strip is attached
to an electrical outlet using one of the screws in the outlet box.

Only one ground connection is needed per 1000 square feet. The other tiles are bonded via our conductive
pressure sensitive adhesive-GroundTack-which contains conductive coated bers.

Read more

Can you explain the di erences between low static and anti-
static with grounding?
Questions about the di erences between what we commonly call "antistatic carpet" versus "permanent static
control carpet" (also known as ESD carpet) usually get raised at some point in every project. The distinction is
critical. Numerous ooring products are bought with the belief that they are antistatic when in fact - they often
are, or become, static generators. When that misapplication involves the choice of ooring for common o ce
space or a hotel lobby, it's no big deal. But if the ooring is for the command center of a public utility or the
server room for a stock exchange, not understanding the technical di erences can be catastrophic.

In order to answer this question clearly there are a few pieces of information you'll need to know.

Never rely on the AATCC-134 speci cation to judge a oors' static control protective properties. To protect
electronic devices and equipment, static control oors must:

1. Be antistatic - the oor must prevent the generation of static electricity

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2. Be capable of being grounded. A ground wire alone does NOT ground the oor. The ESD ooring
material must be made with conductive elements such as carbon, carbon bers or other conductive

3. Must have permanent static control properties - independent of environmental conditions such as
temperature or humidity.

4. Be tra c-resistant - tra c and chair castors should not diminish the static control performance of the

5. Perform without the need for special maintenance procedures such as waxing, spraying or bu ng with

Conductive properties are easily measured with simple, inexpensive ohm-meter.

Read more at www.esdtile.com

Are there any scienti c studies about the performance of anti

static ooring or conductive ooring for mission critical
environments or data centers?
Random static discharge will wreak havoc inside your data or call center causing lost or corrupted data,
dropped calls, pc lockup and blown headsets. Designers of 24/7/365 mission critical spaces such as data
centers, 911 call centers, command centers, server rooms and ight control towers routinely design their
spaces to withstand external threats such as weather, power outages, earthquakes and, in some cases, even
biological threats. An invisible internal threat that is sometimes overlooked, electrostatic discharge (ESD) can
wreak havoc inside any mission-critical space. Dropped calls, blown headsets, PC lockup and lost or corrupted
data represent just a few of the problems.

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Is ESD epoxy appropriate for a small server room?

Although we appreciate your interest in our epoxy ESD ooring, we need to caution you about the limitations
of static dissipative or conductive epoxy coating in a data center/server room application.

All ESD coatings are formulated to eliminate static build-up by providing a ground path. The ability to be
grounded is achieved by adding either conductive bers or carbon and graphite particulate. The bers and
particulate enable us to create an electrical bridge through a material that otherwise, is an insulating static
generator. However, conductivity is the only static control property provided by a coating. The coating is not
antistatic. In other words, ESD coatings will only eliminate static if they are used in conjunction with special
static control footwear. If people walk on them with standard footwear (dress shoes, sneakers, hiking boots
etc.) the coating will neither prevent the generation of static nor remove the charge after it is generated. You
would still need to bridge the electrical gap between your body and the oor by wearing special footwear
special. Walking on any ESD coating in street shoes would be the same as walking across a sheet of plastic. The
result would be the generation of thousands of volts and an increased likelihood of an ESD event!

In data centers we recommend the following conductive materials:

1. Conductive rubber that also has anti-static properties.

2. Conductive vinyl tile with anti-static properties.

3. Conductive carpet tile with anti-static properties.

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Is static control oor nish appropriate for an MRI suite in a

We often supply oor nishes for use on soiled ESD vinyl sheet ooring. The application of a polish or nish
usually becomes necessary a few months after installation; as you probably know, when vinyl ages and is
exposed to foot tra c, it becomes porous and begins to collect dirt. A good ESD polish will re-seal the pores
without hurting the static control properties of the oor.

Additionally, if the ooring in the MRI suite is only static dissipative and not a conductive product, it would not
be unusual for people to generate static when they walk on that oor with ordinary footwear - as opposed to
special static footwear. Keep in mind, a person would not even realize they were generating charges because it
takes at least a 3500 volt zap before the human body can sense a static discharge. The electronics inside MRI
equipment is sensitive to a lot less than 3500 volts - hence the reason for installing the ESD oor in the rst
place. The static control coating would deal with that problem as well.

If you encounter ooring applications for these types of areas in the future, we strongly recommend installing
2 layer Staticworx® EC Rubber. A recent study done by MIT demonstrated the near impossibility of
generating appreciable amounts of static on 2 layer rubber - no matter what footwear was worn. As a
comparison they measured fewer than 200 volts on rubber versus over 3000 volts on the dissipative vinyl. And
because 2 layer Staticworx® EC Rubber ooring is plasticizer-free, it presents none of the maintenance
issues associated with vinyl.

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ESD Standards; What is the correct system resistance?

From a purely technical perspective, a oor's ESD properties can be evaluated:

1. by measuring the oor's resistance to ground;

2. by measuring the total resistance ground of the system including the person and the oor;

3. by using a walking test to measure voltage generation on a person;

4. or by testing some combination of the above.

According to the recommendations of ANSI/ESD S20.20, it is acceptable to install a oor with a resistance to
ground (RTG) that is =1.0 X10E9. But, to comply with ESD standards, the oor must not allow body voltage
generation over 100V.

Read more

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