Static build-up can be reduced to the point where shocks are no longer noticeable by use of an anti-static agent, which is applied directly onto the carpet. The problem is often confined to specific areas, notably around photocopying machines, printers and metallic surfaces such as filing cabinets and airflow heating outlets. To help cure the problem anti-static treatment should be applied to the whole of the carpeted area - normally only one or two applications of anti-static treatment are required per year.
Many people ask about shocks experienced when they touch a door handle, filing cabinet, lift, or other metal object. One of the biggest causes of static electric shock in modern commercial buildings is high nylon content in carpets. Nylon and polypropylene carpeting has a tendency to allow static electricity to build-up, particularly during the winter months when the relative humidity is very low. The result is an electrical discharge or shock when anything conductive is touched while standing on the carpet. A carpet containing nylon or polypropylene is a sure way to generate a painful static electric shock!
There are many reasons why this might happen. Firstly, some people are more sensitive to shocks than others. For most people the threshold for feeling shocks is in the range of 2,000v to 4,000v. Most modern shoes have highly insulating rubber or plastic soles. As you walk, static charges can build up on the soles of your shoes which will eventually discharge an unpleasant static electric shock.
Synthetic clothing containing material such as polyester is a contributing factor, and two cotton fabrics when rubbed together can also generate a powerful electron charge. However, the major culprits are carpets containing nylon and polypropylene fibres.
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