Sensitive subject

Graham Lewis, Corporate Key Accounts Manager – Colorex, from Forbo Flooring Systems delves deeper into Electro Static Discharge (ESD) measurement for flooring in controlled environments

The majority of modern electronic equipment used in schools and the home is insulated, so there is no special requirement for full ESD flooring. However, in areas where static discharge could cause problems, such as through sensitive electrical equipment, ESD flooring is needed to eliminate a static build up.

It is important to understand, though, what electrical conductivity levels are required for the application area, before you can specify the correct resistance. The applicable tests for ESD measurement are EN1081 and IEC61340-4-1. These two tests describe how to measure an electrical charge, and performance levels and requirements for EPA areas are regulated by IEC 61340-5-1.

The electrical resistance of a floorcovering is the opposition to the flow of electricity, which is commonly expressed in Ohm (Ω). The lower the value of Ω, the better the conductivity of the floorcovering, so a material that contains a low electrical resistance can quickly and easily dissipate charges.

When specifying ESD flooring there are two performance levels to be aware of:

  • EC (electrostatic conductive floors), R to ground 104 x 106 Ω – for highly sensitive regions such as cleanrooms and EPA areas where the charge must be dissipated as quickly as possible; and
  • SD (static dissipative floors), R to ground 106 x 108 Ω – suitable for sensitive sections such as operating theatres.

For further assistance on calculating the ESD measurements for cleanroom environments please visit Forbo Flooring Systems: www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/colorex.

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