Anti-static corrugated cardboard electricity physics test

Static is a type of electrical charge that can accumulate when there is no outlet for electrical current. When static builds up, very slight triggers can result in a passage of electrical charge. Even though static charges may be rather small, they can still have an unwanted or damaging effect on certain products, specifically electronics. To avoid this, material handling equipment dedicated to electronics transportation and storage must be treated or manufactured with anti-static chemicals or substances.

Static electricity charges are produced when insulator materials come into contact with one another. Insulators are materials or devices that do not conduct electricity. A good example of this is balloon rubber. When an inflated balloon is rubbed on another insulating surface, like a carpet, static electricity builds up around the balloon surface, because friction introduces a charge and there is no outlet for the buildup. This is called the triboelectric effect.

Lightning is another, more dramatic example of static electricity buildup and release. The most common theory of lightning creation holds that clouds rubbing against one another and mixing together create strong electric charges amongst themselves. The water molecules and ice crystals in the clouds exchange positive and negative electric charges, which are driven by wind and gravity, resulting in increasing electrical potential. Electrical potential is a term denoting electrical potential energy’s scale in a given space. Once the electrical potential builds to saturation, an electric field develops that is too great to remain static, and successive fields of air convert to electrical conductors very quickly. As a result, the electrical potential discharges into these conductor spaces in the form of a bolt of lightning.

Essentially, static electricity in material handling is undergoing a much smaller, much less dramatic process. As cardboard is transported, it develops friction upon contact with material handling equipment such as shelving or lifts, as well as other cardboard boxes around it. Eventually, the electrical potential reaches saturation, and friction introduces a conductor space, resulting in a spark. Electronics within a cardboard box can be damaged by these discharges.

There are various applications for anti-static materials and devices, and as a result, there are various types of these materials and devices. Two common methods of making an item static-resistant are anti-static chemical coating or anti-static sheet coating. Additionally, some untreated cardboard is simply layered with anti-static material in the interior, and the transported materials are surrounded by this conductive material, protecting them from any static buildup of the cardboard.

Anti-static chemicals often involve organic compounds with conductive elements, or conductive polymer additives. Simple anti-static sprays and coatings are cost-effective and safe, so they are commonly used for cardboard treatment. Anti-static sprays and coatings involve conducting polymers mixed with a solvent of deionized water and alcohol. After application, the solvent evaporates, and the remaining residue is conductive. Because the surface is conductive, there is no static buildup when it encounters friction common in handling operations.

Other methods for protecting boxed materials from static build up involve physical inserts. Cardboard boxes can be lined on the inside with anti-static sheet or board material to protect the interiors from any static electricity problems. These linings can be produced of conductive foam or polymer materials, and can either be sealed to the cardboard interior or manufactured as removable inserts.