Static electricity can be extremely useful. Unlike current electricity which is conducted along a circuit, static builds up in one place, typically on the surfaces of insulators that are repeatedly brought into contact with one another. Air filters, laser printers, and photocopiers are just a few examples of where static is used to achieve a goal. However, static build-up can also be problematic.
Anti-static coatings are used to dissipate or mitigate the generation of a charge on contacting surfaces. So, how do these functional coatings work and why are they necessary?
On its own, electrostatic shock is practically harmless. The threshold for feeling an electrostatic shock is on the range of 2,000—4,000 volts; rarely enough to cause more than mild discomfort. However, it can take as little as 3,000 volts to create a spark just 1 mm long. In processing environments with flammable atmospheres, the result of static discharge can be catastrophic. Even in less dramatic circumstances, such discharge can cause problems like visual defects in coated films, damage to electrical components, and personal injury.
Therefore, anti-static coatings are a valuable solution for manufacturers and researchers looking to mitigate the risks associated with discharge during critical processes.
The two main types of anti-static coatings are conductive and dissipative systems. They both prevent the build-up of static charges without allowing stray voltages to electrocute individuals, or to generate a spark—but differ in the speed at which a charge is removed.
Conductive coatings are preferred for critical applications owing to the fact that their higher conductivity practically eliminates static build-up. By presenting a uniform, topical coating with high conductivity (anywhere from 35 ohms/square to 5,000 ohms/square), anti-static coatings of this format can mitigate charge generation between contacting surfaces. This might mean the difference between high product reliability and sporadic failure.
Anti-static coatings are used in a wide range of industries and to functionalize the surfaces of various components. Saint-Gobain’s NORFILM team has generated a choice of functional coatings based on premium polymers (PET, PS, PVC, PE, etc.) with ohms values ranging from 10¬6 to 10¬11. Our production expertise means we can easily produce finely-tailored anti-static coatings using a range of chemistries, substrates, roll configurations, clarities, and more. This translates into wide-ranging market applicability.
NORFILM® anti-static coatings are subsequently deployed in a range of markets, including medical, industrial, labelling, and decaling.
Saint-Gobain Films is one of the world’s leading suppliers of speciality films and coatings for various market segments. Our anti-static coatings are tried-and-trusted in the plastics industry, helping to mitigate problematic charge generation that could be hazardous, or could impact productivity and profitability.
If you would like to learn more about the features and benefits of our NORFILM anti-static coatings, why not contact a member of the team today?