Problem Solving Forum
December 13 - December 19, 2017
What causes static electricity during abrasive blasting? What risk does it pose, and how can it be controlled?
Frank Rea of GPI - Greenman Pedersen, Inc. on
December 13, 2017:
Atoms within a substance, in their natural state, ...read more Atoms within a substance, in their natural state, typically have an equal number of protons (positively charged particles) and electrons (negatively charged particles). Their electrical charges cancel out and the net electrical charge is zero. When materials with different electrical potentials come in contact, electrons can be "stripped" from one material and accumulated on the other material. This causes an imbalanced distribution of the positive and negative charges, i.e., a build-up of static electricity. The risk is the ignition of flammable and explosive liquids and vapors when the static electricity discharges. Also, the discharge of static electricity in the presence of oxygen creates ozone. Ozone attacks rubber gaskets and seals. The dangers static electricity poses can be reduced by grounding and/or use of anti-static additives.