The NFL (USA Football) and Static Electricity: What Do They Have in Common?

Just this week we embarked on the dreaded end of summer task of closing our pool. While it isn’t as nice to look at once the winter cover comes on, it sure beats skimming leaves out for an hour every day when the water temperature drops below a comfortable swimming temperature. However, as an avid Cincinnati Bengals fan and love for all things football-related, this time of year also brings with it excitement and optimism as we gear up for another NFL season. Times have been rough for Bengals fans (and all Cincinnati sports for that matter), but things are looking up for us in the football world with the arrival of the newfound hope that comes with a 3-1 record.

So, what do Cincinnati Bengals football and static have in common? Both share the same seasons, fall and winter. This time of the year it is not uncommon to feel a slight shock after walking across a carpeted surface and touching a door knob. This little “jolt” is a result of fast-moving electrons leaping from your body to the door knob, or vice versa. As your feet shuffle across the surface of a rug or carpet, your body will either gain or lose electrons. Touching a conductive surface then causes these electrons to leap from one place to another.

If you notice, this happens to occur much more often during colder winter months. The reason that you experience static shocks more frequently during winter is due to the relative humidity. At colder temperatures, air does not hold as much moisture as it does when it’s warm. Even though you’re heating your house to a similar temperature, the air that is being drawn into your home and heated is still the dry cold air containing less moisture.

The amount of moisture in the air is expressed as relative humidity. This value is given as a percentage of water vapor in the air, compared to how much it could hold at that temperature. In conditions of lower relative humidity, static charges build up much easier. When the relative humidity is high, there’s a higher concentration of water molecules present in the air. These water molecules “coat” the surface of the material, allowing electrons to move more freely and form a layer over the material. This layer of water molecules acts like a lubricant, reducing the forces that cause static to generate. There are many applications that static may only pose an issue once the climate changes. 

Regardless of the nature of the application, if you’ve got a static problem, EXAIR has a solution!

To combat static electricity in your processes, EXAIR manufactures a complete line of Static Eliminators. Any of them are available to ship same day from stock to customers in the U.S. with an order placed by 2:00 ET (1:00 ET for same day shipments to Canada). We’re all tired by now of receiving the extremely long lead times for seemingly everything we try to order. That’s not the case here at EXAIR, if you need a solution and FAST give us a call!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

NFL is Back! But So is Static……

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View of Paul Brown Stadium

I awoke on Sunday with a bit more pep in my step. It’s been a long and dreary past 7 months (8 or more months for unlucky fans like me), but this day marked another early season NFL Sunday. Wives across the U.S. were collectively rolling their eyes as their husbands perched themselves comfortably on the couch, cold beer in hand, glued to the television screen from dawn ‘til dusk. It’s an exciting time for many, especially us Bengals fans, as the season is ripe with hope and cautious optimism. Fantasy leagues are in full swing, and my apologies to any of you who elected to draft Le’Veon Bell with your 1st pick this year….. However, with the arrival of football season, there is  an unwelcome guest that begins to rear its ugly head: static electricity.

As summer ends and moves towards fall and winter, the air becomes much drier. And because moisture in the air can mitigate some static charge, the dry air allows more static to be present. You may be familiar with the unpleasant shock you get from the door knob after walking across a carpeted surface. While this type of shock doesn’t generally cause any sort of problems, in many industrial processes this static electricity can cause a wide range of different issues. These may manifest simply as nuisance shocks to the operator similar to the door knob example, but it can also cause problems with finish quality, materials jamming/tearing, sheet feeding problems, product clinging to itself or rollers, and dust clinging to product.

In many painting applications, particularly in the automotive industry, dust and debris from the ambient environment can settle on the part prior to painting. Just blowing them off with a standard air gun won’t remove all of the particles if they’re statically charged. The static must be removed in order to remove it or it’ll cause imperfections in the finish after painting. This often results in a high amount of rejected parts that must be scrapped out. I recently visited with a company who handles the painting of small interior automotive parts. The parts are housed on shelves in a dusty environment. This dust settles on the parts while they’re waiting to be painted and just using an air gun alone wasn’t taking care of the problem. In this setup, they were rejecting nearly 60% of all painted parts after inspection.

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Automotive parts after painting

We brought with us a Model 8193 Gen4 Ion Air Gun to replace their regular compressed air gun. The Ion Air Gun is an ergonomic handheld gun that combines low air consumption along with an incredibly fast static decay rate. After taking a reading both before and after with a Model 7905 Static Meter, it was clear that the Ion Air Gun was the right tool for the job. The static eliminating ions were carried to the surface of the part which not only removed the static charge, but also the dust particles clinging to the surface. By replacing their two standard guns with Ion Air Guns, the reject rate was reduced to just under 10% after painting!!

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Model 8193 Gen4 Ion Air Gun

Break out your favorite football team’s gear and enjoy the cooler weather and activities that accompany the coming of Fall, but don’t let static wreak havoc in your processes. EXAIR has a wide range of solutions available that are designed to solve these problems. Give an Application Engineer a call and we’ll be happy to help recommend the best solution. And to all of my fellow Bengals fans out there, WHO DEY!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

 

Bengals photo courtesy of  Nunya Biz via Flickr Creative Commons License