should be given to present and future requirements. Each type of material will have advantages and disadvantages in different environments
and intended uses.
Resilient ESD tile and sheet goods are products that will give good
general service in environments where there is no danger of spillage of
liquids or the presence of heavy point loads. They are relatively economical and can present a variety of colors and finishes to compliment the
architectural finish schedule.
ESD carpet is available in a wide variety of textures and colors to add
aesthetic value, as well as ergonomic and sound reduction qualities to
the lab environment. Conductive fiber and backing provide effective
grounding of potentially damaging charges. Non-ESD carpet is a major
source of ESD charges in the administrative areas of the facility where
carpet would be typically used. The use of ESD carpet eliminates this
problem. ESD carpet finishes would typically be inappropriate in the
lab and would be reserved for administrative areas.
Two-component ESD epoxy floor paints are a very economical finish for
larger areas that require ESD protection. They are often water-based products that are applied in relatively thin films. They represent an economical
alternative for flexible spaces, where the intended use may change in a relatively short period or very large areas that are subject to light or moderate
levels of use. Because of their thin layer application they may be inappropriate for some applications where heavy physical abuse is expected.
ESD waxes and other topical treatments are temporary solutions to
ESD control and shouldn’t be expected to provide compliant performance for long periods of time. These products would typically be used
only as a stop-gap measure when necessary.
Polymer ESD coatings have been in use for decades as an alternative
to ESD VCT, sheet goods and other ESD floor treatments. They are typically formulated from very high solids (very low VOC) epoxy polymers
and contain conductive elements to effect grounding from personnel
wearing ESD footwear, as well as furniture and equipment placed on
them. Polymer ESD coatings provide a seamless surface resistant to
liquid spills. Modifications of the resin system, typically epoxy, can provide chemical resistance to the most aggressive reagents. Various surface textures are available to address concerns of slip resistance where
Because epoxy polymer ESD floor coatings, when properly applied,
bond tenaciously to the concrete, they are ideal for lab applications
where heavy loads are expected. ESD vinyl tile and sheet goods may fail
under heavy point loads at the joint line.
The most advanced of polymer ESD floor coatings utilize a metallic oxide particulate dispersion. These products are superior to carbon fiber or aggregate systems as the particulate is evenly dispersed
throughout the resin matrix producing a very uniform, electrically reactive layer with excellent wear resistance without affecting the surface
The selection of an effective ESD floor covering system for the lab environment should always begin with a thorough evaluation of the intended
use and possible future uses. Intended use should include the evaluation
of the devices or processes in the lab that are most sensitive to ESD events,
chemical resistance and aesthetic requirements. Understanding the need for
and importance of ESD compliant footwear is critical in the performance
of the ESD flooring chosen. Always remember that personnel grounding
requires effective ESD footwear that is appropriate to the application, properly worn and in good repair. In addition, ESD awareness training is invaluable for increasing the effectiveness of any ESD mitigation system.
Erik S. Van Anglen is Senior Technical ESD Specialist with Sika Industrial
Flooring, Lyndhurst, N.J. email@example.com; http://usa.sika.com.
LaboratoryDesign|MAR|APR 2014 21
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