Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Vocabulary

Below is a list of vocabulary words that can guide you and your team when creating a safe environment for ESD sensitive equipment. Whether you are seasoned in best practices for ESD protection or new to the industry, these terms are important to know.

CONDUCTION – Transfer of charge by actual contact.
CONDUCTOR – A material that allows the transfer of a charge from one point to another, like metal.
CONSERVATION OF CHARGE – An electric charge is always conserved, which means it cannot be created or destroyed. The net charge of the system is constant.
DISCHARGE – Discharge describes static electricity loss as electric charges move off an object.
ELECTRIC FIELD – This is the field around charged particles that exerts a force on other charged particles.
ELECTRICAL CHARGE – This describes how an object is charged, whether it’s a property of protons or electrons.
ELECTRONEGATIVITY – The ability of an element to attract electrons.
ELECTROSTATIC DISCHARGE – The sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects.
ELECTROSTATIC FORCE – Attractive or repulsive electrostatic force between positive and negative charges.
EQUATION FOR ELECTROSTATIC FORCE – This may be for the more skilled set of your team, but the equation is: Fe = kqlq2/r2
ION – An atom that has a charge – be it positive or negative.
IONIC COMPOUND – A material compound made of metals and non-metals.
INSULATOR – A material that does not allow the transfer of charge from one object to another.
LAW OF CHARGES – Like charges repel and opposite charges attract.
OXIDATION – This term describes the loss of electrons.
POLARIZATION – The process of separating opposite charges within an object.
SEMICONDUCTOR – An object that only partially conducts a current.
STATIC ELECTRICITY – A stationary electric charge is generally created by friction. This friction can cause a spark or crackling sound. It may attract dust or hair.
TRIBOELECTRIC EFFECT – When two different materials rub against each other, charges are rubbed off one material and onto another.
UNITS OF CHARGES – These units are measured in coulombs by the industry.
UNITS OF ELECTROSTATIC FORCE – This is the force of attraction or repulsion and is measured in newtons.
UNITS OF RADIUS – Distance separating two charges, measured in meters.

Not all these terms are necessary for basic best ESD prevention practices, but having this guide handy may help in your product research for ESD products for your business. For questions or help with best products for your environment, talk to the team at Correct Products today.

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