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An Interview with Robert J. Vermillion, CPP
RMV Technology Group, Inc.

On the Testing of ESD Corrugated Packaging

July 2000


Mr. Vermillion, it is well known that static discharges can damage ESD-sensitive items through the wall of corrugated packaging. What steps are being taken to eliminate this damaging occurrence?


The ESD Association is presently developing a Capacitive Probe Test Standard (CPT) for corrugated materials, proposed as ESD S.11.32 for corrugated.
Editor's note August 2010: the test method S11.32 never was devloped..


The ESD S.11.31-1994 (for static shielding bags) is defined as an electrostatic discharge measurement method. The method employs a capacitive sensor inside the package. A 1KV discharge to the outer package is conducted, and the fixture measures the current across a resistor connected to the fixture’s upper and lower sensing plates. The current and resistance is used to calculate energy seen inside the package during the discharge event. This test should be effective in measuring stored energy per specified relative humidities of either 12 percent or 50 percent.


Some packaging manufacturers still think sandwiching a circuit board between "antistatic" pink foam is a barrier from electrostatic fields in a corrugated container. The foam should not triboelectrically charge the circuit board and the corrugated should not become a static generator if the relative humidity is below 12 percent-23 percent (Kolyer and Rushworth, 1990). An ESD conductive barrier is needed to shield the container from a discharge. Therefore, conventional corrugated without shielding layers or barriers makes an ineffective package for ESD events.



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