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Does static electricity travel via metal only ? or plastics too ?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Skybuck The Destroyer, Jun 1, 2007.

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  1. Hello,

    My question is:

    Does static electricity travel via metal only ? or plastics too ?

    The back of the pc has a metal (?) brace which is part of the

    I touched it, and maybe could have damaged the motherboard that way.

    If so, then ofcourse it's the designers, in this asus, own fault !

    They should use material which do not allow static electricty to
    transfer ???!!!???

    Or are there other safety concerns ?

    Maybe metal is good ? (Don't think so though ;))

    What your toughts on that ? :p*


    P.S.: Posted to dutch newgroup too, hope that's ok :), reply in
    english please :)
  2. Static electricity travels very well through air. In the early 80's I
    watched people in an office that had just installed shag carpet "launch"
    bolts of static electricity several inches to the terminals. This made
    a great show of jiggling on the screen and probably didn't help their
    lifespan any.

    Exactly how do you prevent "bad" electricity through a wire but not
    "good" electricity? What might have happened is that your static charge
    traveled to the metal connector for the USB port and from there through
    the computer.
    If you want to cut down your static risk use a fabric softener like Dawn
    and spray the carpet around the computer. It won't eliminate it
    completely but will make a difference. Otherwise place the computer in
    a clean room with Tempest shielding.
  3. mpm

    mpm Guest

    On Jun 1, 3:19?pm, Skybuck The Destroyer

    The metal part you are talking about is probably connected to ground.
    And discharge through ground should not affect the motherboard.

    Yes, a static current flowing in the ground circuit (fault) is not
    ideal, but I don't know that it would damage a motherboard directly?
    Are you the individual who posted recently that you had (2)
    motherboards die? If so, I am wondering if something else isn't
    wrong?? How many motherboards would it take? Are you building /
    upgrading the PC yourself? Are you using static control measures
    while handling the boards and semiconductors?

    Just a few thoughts to ponder. mpm

  4. Het is eigenlijk heel simpel.
    Een ESD veilige ruimte is in de meeste thuis situaties niet altijd te
    realiseren, maar je kunt daarentegen heel eenvoudig je apparatuur
    voorzien van randaarde. Een ESD ontlading zoekt altijd de weg van de
    minste weerstand en dat is de randaarde.
    Mocht je nu aan je PC willen knutselen, dan zorg je voor een
    anti-statische mat die je vervolgens met de juiste middelen aan de
    randaarde koppelt, je plaatst daar je PC op (het netsnoer laat je
    zitten tot het moment dat je apparatuur daadwerkelijk op de mat staat)
    en je verbindt jezelf met een daartoe geschikte polsband aan deze
    anti-statische mat.
    De anti-statische mat is dus je virtuele aardpunt.
    Als je nu ook nog beschermende koolstof kleding draagt tijdens de
    klus, dan hoef je nergens meer over in te zitten.

  5. mr deo

    mr deo Guest

    No, it shouldnt..

    I know that all stages of the PSU share a common ground, and I think that
    common ground is return'd to the Earth/Ground of the plug.
  6. mr deo

    mr deo Guest

    Hi Skybuck
    I have been following your problems and I know what the problem is..

    It's user error. I suggest you box up your dream pc, your static flip flops
    or whatever, and go buy a dell laptop.
  7. default

    default Guest

    Static can go through some plastics - usually ones the manufacturer
    takes steps to make them conductive. Static can pass through wood if
    reasonably moist. Static will always travel via metals - but not
    necessarily metal oxides.

    Static can build up on the surfaces of insulated conductors,
    insulators, and semi conductive insulated pieces.

    Have a negative ion generator in the room? That's is asking for

    The problem isn't the board maker - it is you. Good practice says
    that you be at the same voltage potential as the computer before you
    touch anything inside it. Easiest way is ground yourself and the
    computer, then touch things inside.

    Avoid working when the air is dry and be very careful.
  8. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    You're supposed to discharge any static on yourself before touching these

    Better still, avoid wearing the kinds of clothing that 'generate static' (in
    other words wear pure cotton only - no synthetic content) and also treat any
    carpet in the area with an anti-static spray to avoid generating static
    electricity when you walk across it.

    If you broke something with static it was only your own stupidity and ignorance
    that was to blame. It is impossible to make the internal components of a PC
    totally Skybuck The Idiot proof.

  9. Ty

    Ty Guest

    static and or electricity seek ground. plastic is normally an insulator
    but can be persuaded to conduct until a vaporized/magma state is
    achieved. This type of situation beyond the norm, like natural purple
    hair sticky.
  10. En wat nu als we dat niet doen? Gaan dan al die Engelsen in paniek raken ofzo?
  11. victor

    victor Guest

    Maar gelukkig heb je wel een indrukwekkende Engelse sig.
  12. Skybuck

    Skybuck Guest

    No just one, the other died many years ago.

    Using no measurements, except: touching the heating/radiator.

    Someone once said that helps get rid of static electricity ? ;)

    But I probably didn't do that when I connected the mouse.

    Also I wonder if it really helps and how much do I get rid of it ?

    Because I was probably heavily loaded with static elec...

  13. Skybuck

    Skybuck Guest

    Wat is dat randaarde ?

    Is de verwarming/radiator verbonden met de aarde ?

    Ik snap daar geen hol von.

  14. Skybuck

    Skybuck Guest

    I disagree, static electricty, ground, and things like that are beyond
    the understanding of everyday people that use computers.

    My sister, my mother, my brother, your uncle, anybody could connect a
    mouse and damage a piece of hardware.

    It's the hardware designers job to try and prevent that from happening
    as much as possible =D


  15. Dat is intussen wel duidelijk geworden!

  16. default

    default Guest

    Computers and the Internet are beyond the understanding of everyday
    people that use computers, that doesn't stop them.

    OK NEW RULE: no one is allowed to buy a computer without first
    demonstrating complete mastery of the computer.

    More seriously:

    All engineering is compromise. You learn to make the best choices
    operating within the scope of what is possible, and practical. All
    solutions to problems contain the seeds of other, different, problems.

    I think the manufacturers do plenty to make computers resistant to
    static discharge. The problem is that when conductors and insulators
    are measured in angstroms, there just isn't enough conductor or
    insulating material there to withstand high potentials.

    Insulation resistance is measured in volts per mil. Large scale
    integrated circuit fabrications are orders of magnitude thinner.
    Static discharges are thousands of volts.

    The problem is intrinsic to the parts themselves. Use other parts?
    Can't - - - or can but then the computer takes up a lot of room,
    becomes slower, costs much more, and can't run the graphical software
    your sister,mother,brother,uncle,et al can use.

    Remember the old UNIVAC? sucked down tons of power, you had to learn
    machine language to program it, no memory to speak of, not user
    friendly, unreliable as all get out, but static electricity (short of
    a lightening strike on the mainframe) wouldn't damage it.

    Perhaps when the technology changes and photons become logical
    elements or biologic self-repairing computers come along, it won't be
    a problem. Until then this is the state of the technology available.

    You are the one having the problem - it isn't as universal as you
    probably think. Most of us know about it and how to work without
    destroying the stuff.

    Cost is still a factor too. A 100% metal shell keyboard, would be
    better, heavy and costly. Connectors could be made that make the
    ground connection before internal works are exposed to static, they
    may be so large, and costly, as to be impractical.

    There's no such thing as idiot proof. You wouldn't expect your car to
    go without oil or coolant, is that a weakness in the design? Could
    cars be designed to work without oil or coolant? Probably - low
    thermal coefficient high temperature ceramics, increased pollution due
    to wider tolerances, and a cost no one could afford.

    Until the technology changes, why not just learn how to deal with the
    limitations? It is the only choice, and griping about it won't change

    Why do you have so much trouble in accepting that you did something
    wrong? Learn from it, stop doing it, and move on.

    Your question: "Does static electricity travel via metal only ? or
    plastics too ?" speaks volumes of your own lack of understanding. It
    isn't a weakness to be ignorant about something, it is a weakness to
    be unable to learn because of one's bias.
  17. Ben Doedens

    Ben Doedens Guest

    Waar ben je grootgebracht? In Engeland spreken ze nml niet over randaarde,
    maar over live (bruine draad), neutral (blauwe draad) and ground
    (geel/groene of grijze draad) en hebben ze driepolige stopcontacten en

    In Nederland gebruiken we het begrip "randaarde" omdat de aarding aan de
    rand van de stekkers en contactdozen zit. De aarddraad van
    woonhuisaansluitingen bestaat uit een koperen pijp die enkele meters de
    grond ingeslagen wordt. Bij grote woningbouwblokken komen zelfs
    ringleidingen voor die op meerdere plaatsen met een pijp in de grond, dus
    met "aarde" verbonden zijn.
  18. Skybuck

    Skybuck Guest

    Is allemaal leuk en aardig maar ik snap er nog geen hol van ?

    Ik heb een plastic vloer, is die verbonden met die metalen pijp ?

    Of alleen verwarmingen ?

    En ook de eletriciteits stopcontacten ?

    Wat is er precies verbonden met die pijp die de grond in gaat ?

    In mijn stopcontacten zitten maar 2 gaatjes en niet 3.

    Dus dat vind ik zo vreemd.

    Hoe weet ik nou of mijn computer geaard is of niet ?

    Hij staat op het hout ?!

    Mensen zeggen, raak de kast van de computer aan, maar heeft dat wel
    zin als die niet geaard is ?


    P.S.: Ik zal het ook even voor die engels mensen zeggen
  19. Skybuck

    Skybuck Guest

    I don't think my computer is grounded.

    It's on a wooden table.

    The outlets only have 2 holes not 3.

    Suppose I am correct and my PC is not grounded, then the tips of you
    or maybe others are useless:

    Touching the computer case does not allows get rid of static
    electricy, so it's unreliable advice.

    That's just my point I wanna make ;)

    I need something reliable or nothing at all... because half-half I
    don't like that all ;)

    Thanks to all anyway,
  20. Skybuck

    Skybuck Guest

    Dat geldt nog meer voor jou, jij hebt helemaal niks interessant te
    melden, maar vooruit je doet mee voor spek en bonen :)

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