One of our overseas distributors provides solutions for a customer who has bought quite a few of the Ion Air Guns for their production. The customer raised a question for which our distributor requested help to answer. The customer asked, “What exactly is going on in the process, when you blow ions on an item?” There is a large interest in these products and they are interested know more. It is not, that they are afraid of the procedure, they just wonder what physically happens, so my question to you is: Could you write an explanation on what happens within the static eliminating equipment when it is energized?
For the answer, you have to go back to high school science class to remember the definition of an ion. An ion is an an electrically charged atom or group of atoms formed by the loss or gain of one or more electrons. Put simply, it is an atom with either extra or fewer electrons than it is supposed to have normally. This excess or deficit of electrons makes the molecule attract electrically to atoms or molecules with the opposite charge. Too many electrons = negative charge. Too few = positive charge.
Gases can form ions as a result of an electrical charge. Gas ions are defined as such: one of the electrically charged particles formed in a gas by electric discharge or the like. The atoms we are creating with our static eliminators are oxygen ions or “ozone”. Due to the AC waveform of the electrical supply, the power supply generates 50 Hz signal that produces both positive and negative ions, depending on the phase of the electrical supply. In this way, our static eliminators produce ozone which can eliminate static of either polarity.
What happens at the atomic level is the ions we create are attracted to and combine with the electrostatic field present on material which has a static charge. The electrostatic field present on insulating materials is present because of two possibilities. Either there was some contact & separation of materials, friction (like rubbing a balloon on the hair), or there was a separation of two insulating materials which were previously in intimate (close) contact with one another (like peeling a protective film from a surface). When this happens, the electrons will move from one material surface to another based on their potential to gain or lose electrons (reference Triboelectric Series). The balance of the surface electrons becomes unbalanced as the electrons at the outer layers will be knocked out of their home orbit and take up with another atom to make it negative, thus leaving the previously neutral atom in a positive state.
When one applies a static eliminating ions from one of our products on to an application where static is causing a problem, they are providing those needed electrons to help the charged material balance itself out. The reason that it happens to insulating materials is because they cannot conduct an electrical signal and so the electrical charge remains on the surface until it is dissipated by active means like our static eliminators or by natural means (a much slower process) where air molecules floating around the charged surface will lower the overall charge to a point until it reaches a point of electrical balance. So, our ionizers (also known as static eliminators) simply speed that process up immensely and eliminate static charges in a fraction of a second.
Neal Raker, International Sales Manager