11.09.2017

Humidity for Electronics: Reducing Static Electricity

Environments containing electronics are prone to many issues stemming from inconsistent humidification, and the most dangerous one is static electricity buildup resulting from conditions that are too dry. This can result in unexpected discharges that can damage sensitive components and pieces of electronic equipment. It can also transfer to individuals interacting with electronics in the affected area, which can endanger their safety. In this post, we’ll examine how proper humidification plays a role in negating these issues, protecting electronics, the environments they are housed in and the people who interact with them. Additionally, we’ll provide some helpful tips for how you can bolster the efficiency and lifespan of your humidifier.

Balanced Relative Humidity

Antistatic materials generally function better in drier conditions. However, a relative humidity of over 40% will help to dramatically reduce the resistance of most dielectrics, resulting in an increase in return current that negates a charge buildup. This is due to the fact that dry air becomes a part of the electrostatic build-up mechanism every time it flows over an insulated surface. Even high humidity can be problematic, especially for electronics-filled areas, as higher moisture levels can short out components and equipment relatively easily. A Nortec humidifier installed and regulated to maintain an environment of approximately 40% relative humidity acts as the creator of a “safe zone” that reduces the risk of electrostatic discharge.  This is because humidifiers add hydration to the air, which enables the forming of a thin protective film on surfaces. This film behaves as a natural conductor that works well at reducing static electricity. Other humidifiers can make this an expensive process due to greater water consumption needs, but Nortec’s suite of specialized humidifiers feature water dispersal regulation systems that enable for the precise monitoring of an environment’s moisture levels and temperature. This way, water is used only when needed in order to conserve as much as possible, making these systems far more cost-effective, efficient and results-driven than others.

Minimize Static Transference

While proper humidification of an electronics-based environment will dramatically help in reducing static electricity, there is never a way to 100% safeguard against it. Consider your environment in addition to how humidity is filtered through it. Carpeting, laminate flooring, metal shelving and areas where conductive materials rub against one another can still produce a discharge. These materials should be replaced with those which don’t encourage a current to flow through them. The fewer objects and surfaces a current can interact with, the lower the chance it will have of building up and arcing to other objects or individuals who interact with them.

Maximize Airflow

On shelves, try giving items more vertical distance between one another to allow air to flow between them and through the environment. If you have an in-duct humidification system installed, ensure that all air vents are unobstructed and will enable the maximum amount of air output. This will ensure that your humidifier won’t have to push itself as much, allowing it to last for years to come. Nortec’s humidifiers are designed according to standards for commercial and industrial usage and are constructed out of high-grade components that will last for not just years, but for decades in many cases. Combined with some careful environmental planning, humidification in electronics-based spaces with these systems is seamless, reliable and highly efficient. 

Insulation

By avoiding air leakage when applicable to your environment’s design and purpose, you’ll be able to more easily maintain optimal relative humidity and temperature levels. Consider upgrading sealants in windows, doors and other openings to keep air more tightly contained. Doing so will keep moisture levels in check and require your humidifier to operate less frequently, enhancing the lifespan of it and any subsequent components even more. This is especially important when utilizing evaporative cooling in sensitive areas such as data centers or server rooms, as they require absolute temperature control to compensate for heat build-up from computers and other equipment.

Equalize Body and Equipment Voltages

By ensuring your body has the same voltage as any equipment you interact with, reducing static electricity will be even easier. There are many ways to achieve this, such as moisturizing your hands and using dryer sheets when laundering your clothes. Also try minimizing your interactions with metal surfaces and conductive fabrics. Combined with proper relative humidity control, yourself and your equipment will be well-protected against potential discharges.

Humidification plays an integral role in protecting sensitive electronics, components and equipment as well as the environments that house them. Additionally, proper humidification infinitely better safeguards individuals interacting in these spaces against potential safety risks associated with electrostatic build-up. By opting for a Nortec humidification system, your electronic devices, components, tools and equipment will be spared expensive damages by reducing static electricity.

Helpful Links:

Why Humidify…For Electronics Manufacturing
ME Series for Evaporative Industrial and Commercial Humidification




Speak to one of our humidification experts today to learn more about reducing static electricity for electronics.

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