Remember rubbing your feet on the carpet then poking one of your siblings for a satisfying “ouch” from them? That little spark that goes from your finger to their face is the result of static electricity. I’m sure many of us did this constantly as we imagined ourselves a super hero or villain. Elecro-Boy, El Shocko, Electric Cedric… whatever. That tiny spark of electricity is the result of static charge and build up. Without getting into the science of it all, it goes something like this. Your body conducts electricity and has a particular amount of charge, when you rub your feet wearing just socks you are building up electric charge on your body. That electric charge needs somewhere to go and the favorite places for electricity to go is other ‘conductors’ of electricity. Generally, other people (fun!) or metals.In high end tech industries, be it “I.T.” with it’s hallways o server racks, power plants with low voltage operating panels, or say even your computer at home, static charges can be a death sentence if enough of it is built up and you happen to touch the wrong part of the equipment! It actually happens rarely in my experience but when it does, it’s VERY costly. This is why more power plants have floor mats
known asÂ switchboard matting
to protect employees from being shocked by high voltage equipment.Â Info-servers and just about anywhere with sensitive equipment requires some form of static dissipative flooring
where the operators stand. This helps to take the charge out of the body, before it can make contact with any of the equipment.Â Many employers have anti fatigue mats
for their employees who stand on their feet for long periods of time as well.
Recently, I acquired a pair of VERY expensive, VERY loud, and VERY discontinued speakers. They are made with a particular type of Beryllium drivers which makes them a) illegal to manufacture now but b) gives them an extremely detailed and rich sonic character. Basically, right after new years, I set these puppies up after having been in storage for about 2 years. After all the wiring was finished, I fired them up for a test run. Big, rich, beautiful sound. I was in Nirvana. Then, like an ass, I decided I wanted to literally TOUCH the metal grille of the tweeter when I see a tiny spark, POP, and suddenly, the right speaker sounds muffled and dark… I blew out the tweeter. For those of you not privy to audio, the tweeter is the smallest speaker which handles all the high end. With it blown and discontinued, I decided to get a grounding from MatsMatsMats.com to put from a metal frame on my desk to ground. Now before I touch ANYTHING in my room that is plugged into a wall, I make sure to touch the desk first to dissipate the static charge.
On a side note, I still feel like a super hero every time I shock someone.