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Fibers Offer Electrostatic Control Solutions


By Dean Yarborough,
Industry Manager
Shakespeare Conductive Fibers LLC, USA
June 26, 2004

Everyone has experienced the discharge of static electricity in the course of everyday life. The experience could be as benign as the discomfort associated with toughing a doorknob, but there are some results of discharge that are much more serious than others. These could include loss of electronic data, financial loss from defects in manufacturing of sensitive components, personal injury and risk of explosion of volatile gasses.

Fibers produced by Shakespeare Conductive Fibers, LLC are incorporated in many of the products that are used to control electrostatic discharge (ESD). These fibers, sold under the Resistat trademark, are offered in many different forms to accomplish the desired ESD property of the article containing the fiber.

For woven and knitted fabrics, the conductive fibers usually comprise from 2% to 13% of the yarns and are arranged as a stripe or grid pattern. These fabrics are used in specialized apparel, coverings, upholstery, conveyor belting and processing belts. Generally, a continuous monofilament fiber is used. The size could be as small as a 22-denier monofilament to over 7,000-denior monofilament.

For some weaving applications, the conductive fiber is twisted with a continuous filament PET or nylon to enhance processing. An additional use for woven fabrics is in bulk container bags for shipping of powered and granular products, where static discharge is critical.

Staple fibers, on the other hand, are supplied for application in needle-pucnched nonwovens, where a primary function is gas filtration. Staple fibers are also supplied to converters wishing to produce their won spun yarn combinations. Conductive staple filament, provided as small as 5 denier, is particularly useful when the static buildup is to be dissipated through a phenomena known as Corona Discharge.

In this type of discharge, the multiple terminating ends of the staple fiber promote ionization of the charge into the surrounding atmosphere. Micro fibers as small as 44 micron in diameter and .5mm in length are often used in wetlaid adhesives and flooring. These short-length chopped fibers are also utilized in flocking.

Carpet producers incorporate Resistant conductive filaments into face yarn and backing to produce ESD flooring. Typical applications would be critical computer installations and call centers where static discharge can be devastating. For this type of application where aesthetics are a consideration, a gray fiber is offered in addition to the usual black color.

Conductive tow fibers, or strands of 40 ends of continuous filament fiber without a twist, each have particles of electrically conductive carbon suffused to the surface. Multifilament and two bundles are supplied to brush manufactures. These static-dissipative brushes are found in office equipment such as printers, copiers and check processors. They are also used in industries for cleaning and as processing aids.

Conductive fibers are an integral component in the design of many products. They can be offered in many forms to accommodate challenging manufacturing processing and design criteria. Although currently used in many established products there are many more applications that would benefit from the comfort, safety and economic advantages of controlling electrostatic discharge.

For more information, please contact:
Shakespeare Conductive Fibers, LLC
Telephone: 803-754-7011 ext. 1471

Reprinted with permission of International Fiber Journal

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