If you are an avid user of technology and modern electronic devices, you may have heard about something called ‘anti static mats’.
In this informative article, we will answer all the questions you may have regarding this incredibly useful tool. How do anti-static mats work? Why do you need to use them? Read ahead to find out more:
What Are Anti Static Mats?
Electricity plays a very vital role in our lives. It not only surrounds us everywhere, but is even present inside of us at all times, with little bolts of voltage transmitting signals and messages across a vast network of neural structures. Regardless of how ever present it is, it can still cause interference when produced in places it is not meant to be.
Even walking around your house can produce a significant amount of electrostatic energy that can start to interfere with the transistors in your electronic devices and circuits.
An antistatic mat or a grounding mat is a conductive product that allows you to reduce the risk of electrostatic discharge. These devices are available in the form of floor mats or table mats, and are used to ground devices so as to prevent the buildup of electrostatic charge by consistently dispersing it into the ground.
Why is Ensuring Static Protection Essential?
While a little bit of static electricity or shock may not be a major health hazard for you and me, it is certainly a nuisance when it comes to electronic devices.
Most electronics have complex circuits and signal transmission systems that operate in a very carefully balanced environment. Any disturbances in this electronic environment can disrupt their function and has the potential to cause significant or even irreversible damage.
That is why it is important to invest in solutions that protect your electronic devices from static electricity- you want to keep them functioning well and correctly.
The use of antistatic mats is particularly useful and critical in environments that house flammable material. For example, if you have electrical devices placed in the same location as combustible solvents and other volatile substances, it is best to preemptively employ the use of antistatic mats and prevent the occurrence of an explosive disaster.
You never know when a spark of electrostatic discharge is enough to set off a series of unfortunate events.
How Exactly Do Anti Static Mats Work?
A typical anti static mat has a three layered structure. At the very top of the mat you have a vinyl material that is dissipative and has the ability to discharge the conductors it comes in contact with.
The layer right below the static vinyl is a metallic sheet that provides a good conductive material for the transfer of the discharge to the ground. The last layer is foamy material that helps the mat and the device placed on top to stay in one place.
These mats are often connected to the floor with a grounding cord so that the discharge is transferred to the earth properly. Other times, they may have to be plugged into the ground pin of an electrical outlet in your home to establish that earthing link for the dissipation of the electrostatic charge. These mats are able to absorb and dissipate over 30,000 Volts of electric charge.
Where Can You Use Anti Static Mats?
Like mentioned before, anti static mats are used in places where combustible material such as explosive chemicals are present to ensure that electrostatic discharge from nearby electrical equipment does not ignite a spark.
Other than that, you can also use anti static mats with any sensitive devices or equipment that you want to keep safe and working in optimum condition. You can even use it with your desktop computer to keep it protected from electrostatic discharge.
A lot of people tend to use anti static mats in conjunction with the likes of wrist straps and heel grounders. It allows you to completely insulate your clothing and outerwear. These dissipative devices ensure that you do not experience static shock when tapering around with your electronics.
Even if you are not using a wrist strap or the likes, make sure to take all the precautionary methods to keep yourself as well as your electronics safe from the consequences of electrostatic discharge.
Try to stay in contact with the chassis of the device at all times, avoid working in hot and dry conditions, and keep your work area clean and free of unnecessary plastic materials.
What is the Difference Between ESD and Anti Static Mats?
You may also have heard about something called ESD mats. These are called Electrically Static Dissipative mats and they serve pretty much the same purpose as anti static mats.
Much like the latter, ESD mats are also conductive devices that protect you from static discharge by dissipating all of the accumulating electrical energy into the floor.
The only difference between the two is that where anti static mats have an electrical resistance within the range of 0.1 to 1000 MegaOhm, ESD mats tend to have a resistance between 0.1 and 100 MegaOhm.
This comparatively lower upper limit is very useful in ensuring that the buildup of electrostatic charge is prevented to the greatest possible degree.