Fundamentals of Electrostatic Discharge Part 2: Creating Static Charge

This article is based on an original publication by ESDA.

Defined as "electric charge at rest", static electricity is the result of imbalanced electrical charges on a material surface which produce an electric field. Electrostatic discharge, or ESD, is the rapid, spontaneous transfer of electrostatic charge induced by a high electrostatic field. ESD can negatively impact the electrical properties of a component or device, and may cause damage to equipment operation, malfunction and even failure.

Effective control of ESD requires a basic understanding of how electrostatic charge is generated by the contact and separation of two materials. These may be similar or dissimilar, although dissimilar materials usually generate more static charge. This is referred to as "triboelectric charging" and it occurs when the two materials are placed in contact and separated, resulting in the transfer of negatively charged electrons. Gain and loss of electrons is dependent on the materials.



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