Home > Knowledge > How do electrostatic dissipative (esd) thermoplastics work?

How do electrostatic dissipative (esd) thermoplastics work?

Electrostatic dissipation

When two polymeric surfaces are rubbed together static electrical charges are generated on the surfaces.  Party tricks involving picking up pieces of paper with a comb are amusing.  However, static electricity can be a nuisance in the plastics industry with dust attraction during storage or in service.  More serious problems occur when the static electricity discharges as a high voltage spark. This can cause damage to electronic components and igniting volatiles in fuel systems and printing lines.

antistat

Visitors to plastics processing plants are amused by tinsel decorating production lines. However, the problem can also be tackled using additives. They turn the inherently insulating thermoplastics into slightly more conductive materials to allow the static charges to leak away to earth and avoid hazardous build up.

‘Migrating Antistats’ are additives which, at levels less than 1%, migrate to the surface and form a surface conducting layer by attracting moisture from the atmosphere.  Obviously they function less well at low relative humidity.

‘Permanent Antistats’ are conductive additives, such as carbon black, carbon fibre, carbon nanotubes, metal fibres and certain mineral fillers.  At levels of 5 – 15 %, they function by sufficiently reducing the electrical resistance to encourage static charges to leak away harmlessly.

In selecting the appropriate additive for electrostatic dissipation, due attention has to be given to how it affects other properties.  Some of the carbon additives, which now include the wonder material, graphene, will affect colour — unless you go for the Henry Ford option — and mould shrinkage can also be affected.  For some there will be an increase in stiffness but one type of permanent antistat, polyether block amides, at 10 % level may give a decrease in stiffness.

Ultaform

This electrostatic dissipation article was written by Dr. Charlie Geddes for Hardie Polymers

For more of Charlie’s blogs why not read more of our knowledge base articles?

For information on all the specified grades that we can offer please contact us today or try our polymer search.

Posted in Guides,

Find the exact grade you require

Improve on your current price

Get the material you need faster

Our no risk Polymer Search

  • We’ll conduct a no obligation search so you don’t have to
  • We can supply the exact grade you need so you can meet your spec
  • Minimum quantity is just 25kg so you can get just what you need
  • If we can’t find your grade of plastic there is no cost to you
  • Products can be dispatched by express shipping if required

Chat to us first as we’re happy to answer any of your questions.

Awards

Request a Quote

  • Our team are available from 8am-5pm and we always aim to get back to you the same day. If you would rather contact us immediately please join us on live chat
    or give us a call on 0141 952 1900.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.