Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Films and their Applications
One of the biggest causes behind the premature damage of majority of electronic appliances was the internal generation of static electricity, i.e., electrostatic discharge. As new-age electronic devices, with the advent of semiconductor technology, became more and more complex and compact at the same time, the problem of electrostatic discharge aggravated. To counter and tackle this problem, electrostatic discharge films were developed. Today, electrostatic discharge films have extensive applications across diverse sectors.
Lightning strikes have always fascinated and awe-inspired young minds. From being considered as a wrath of God to being considered as a blessing because of its association with rains, stone-age man spurred different theories about the lightning phenomenon. But subsequent advances in scientific studies revealed the true reason behind lightning strikes. A lightning strike, as scientific studies have now established, is the result of an electrostatic discharge between the atmosphere and the ground. This sudden and huge amount of electrostatic discharge results in rapid movement of electrically-charged electrons and produces brilliant flashes of light and electromagnetic radiation. However, electrostatic discharges aren’t always so spectacular and dramatic. Some electrostatic discharges are so subtle, they can’t be seen or heard but are capable enough to cause considerable damage. This is especially true, in case of electronic devices, wherein such electrostatic discharges can completely damage the device.
Electronic devices, over the years, have become more complex and yet more compact. A CPU has evolved from having a size of a room to being just a 12-inch chip which is able to handle several complex operations, that too, simultaneously. In such a scenario, where devices are becoming complex and compact, semiconductors and chipsets have hundreds of transistors, capacitors, diodes, and other such electronic components fitted on them, which increase the possibility of electrostatic discharges among these components. To prevent these electrostatic discharges, electrostatic discharge materials are used so as to protect the electronic devices from damaging. There are several such electrostatic discharge materials, one of which is the electrostatic discharge film.
Applications of Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Films
The role of electronics in the scientific and technological advancements has been crucial, to say the least. Over the years, electronic devices have increasingly become extremely crucial in a variety of industries. Accordingly, ensuring the protection of electronic devices so as to increase their durability has been a key consideration; electrostatic discharge films have played this role perfectly. Moreover, electrostatic discharge films have shown their diverse applications so much so that the global electrostatic discharge (ESD) films market is showing great signs of growth. Some of these applications are given below:
- Prevention of Internal Generation of Static Electricity and Corrosion of Electronic Devices: The basic objective behind the invention of electrostatic discharge film was to prevent the internal generation of electric charges that takes place due to the characteristics of electronic components. Since, over the years, the size of electronic devices has become smaller and these devices are performing even more complex functions. The constituent components of such electronic devices have become more powerful and are closely placed on circuitry. This results in internal generation of static electricity, also known as electrostatic discharge, which can cause serious damage to the concerned electronic device. Moreover, the transistors, capacitors, ICs, and other semiconductor devices undergo corrosion and this negatively impacts the electronic devices as it limits the duration of their usage. Electrostatic discharge films not only prevent the internal generation of static electricity but also prevent the components from getting corroded. Thus, electrostatic discharge films offer the dual benefit of prevention of electrostatic discharge and corrosion.
- Medical Usages: Medical trays have a tendency to amass electrostatic charges. Since medical trays have extensive usage in areas of hospitals where there is ample electromagnetic radiation, like operation theatres or X-ray rooms, there is a chance of experiencing a static electric shock upon touching these trays without proper protection. Hence, these trays are covered and packaged with a coating of electrostatic discharge films to avoid these mishaps. Also, the electrostatic discharge filming repels the dust and other such unwanted particles, thereby helping to keep the medical trays safe. The practice of filming medical trays with electrostatic discharge films is being replicated for other medical appliances also.
- Aerospace Industry: Electrostatic discharge films are extensively used in the aerospace industry. From laminating the spacecraft to using them as insulators, electrostatic discharge films have become indispensable in the aeronautical and aerospace industry. These films also ensure outgassing, i.e., release of trapped gases in solids, which is crucial in flights. Protection from heat and water exposure are added benefits of electrostatic discharge films. Electrostatic discharge films have been so reliable that space agencies like NASA are very much dependent on them for their space missions.
- Food Packaging Industry: Electrostatic discharge films have lately been used in the food packaging industry as a packaging material for meat, fruits, vegetables, frozen foods, etc. These films act as anti-microbial, anti-fogging packaging material which helps in keeping the food products dust-free and fresh. The best advantage of using electrostatic discharge films for food packaging is that they conserve and seal the flavor and smell of the food product intact without any degradation in the quality of the food product.
- Security from Tampering: Application of electrostatic discharge films in print media is mainly related to preventing the tampering of labels and enhance their aesthetic appearance.
Thus, the rise of electrostatic discharge film as a reliable product, throughout its applicability, has been tremendous. Electrostatic discharge films have been indispensable in electronics industry and aerospace industry and have been gaining ground as a reliable product in food packaging industry also. Innovations in the manufacturing and production of electrostatic discharge films will make them more durable in the coming years.
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