What Causes ESD?
Electrostatic discharge, or ESD, happens when two objects are in contact with each other. It can be direct contact, as each of them touching the other and, sometimes, the two objects can also be apart. For example, when people are walking on a carpet, the shoes touch the carpet as static electricity is produced. Each time that the feet are lifted, the shoes get away from the carpet and produce additional static electricity. (Related topic: protective packaging)
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A person’s body gets electrically charged and this charge keeps on going while the person walks. When a person gets close to an object connected to ground, an electric discharge is produced, and it’s normal to hear or see a spark going to the object. This is what is known as electrostatic discharge (ESD).
ESD is a sudden discharge of electrostatic that has built up in an object or a person. This discharge happens when an object or person has direct contact with another object or person with an electrostatic charge different from the one to the ground. Even though ESD is not dangerous in humans, it could seriously damage an electronic part or component.
Usually, the damage is not immediate and does not happen during the electronic device’s installation or first test. The ESD damage continues getting worse after the installation, and eventually, the damage on the device is irreparable. This may take days, months or even years.
It is because ESD can cause irreparable damage to electronic devices that there are different materials that help keep these products away from this risk. Anti-static bags and static shielding bags are great materials to keep electronics components safe at all time and guarantee that they won’t be affected by ESD.
So, next time you are shipping or are receiving an electronic device or component, make sure it is packed with a material that fully protects it. In this way, you will surely save yourself many headaches in the future.