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Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is a swift discharge of electric current between two objects with different charges and different numbers of electrons. This exchange of electrons creates a large electromagnetic field buildup, resulting in ESD.
Certain electronic devices are vulnerable to low-voltage ESD. For example, a hard drive is susceptible to just 10 volts. Integrated circuits (IC) are also prone to ESD and may be permanently damaged by high-voltage currents.
ESD has several causes, but static electricity and electrostatic induction are the most common. Static electricity is often produced through tribocharging, while electrostatic induction results from the rearrangement of electrical charges as an object. Generally, tribocharging results when the surface of an object gains negative electrons as another object loses electrons and becomes positively charged. When opposite charged objects come into contact with each other, electrons transfer energy and then separate, creating a type of contact electrification of electrical charges.
ESD causes two types of electrical equipment damage, as follows:
To avoid ESD, procedures should be followed to reduce or eliminate electrical current. Removing materials with high ESD buildup is crucial. Additionally, grounding is essential for blocking ESD. Everything in a work or home environment should be connected to a reliable grounding system.
The following grounding utilities protect electronic components, including hard drives, expansion cards, motherboard, processors and memory modules:
Some components, such as a monitor and power supply, should never be grounded because they maintain high charges of electricity - even when turned off. They also contain capacitors that store high volumes of electric energy, which are capable of stopping the human heart.