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Static Electricity Hazards of Plastic Containers-Image

Valuable Technical Article address the issues associated with static electricity on plastic packaging, draw on reports and expertise of industry and safety bodies and provide solutions to grounding non-metallic containers, with a particular focus on composite drums and IBCs.

Introduction In recent years there has been a proliferation of new and low cost plastic portable containers. Containers ranging in size from 1/4 gal. bottles, to 58 gal. drums and 260 gal. IBCs have provided the supply chains of the hazardous process industries with a diverse range of material packaging options. While some packaging options will require plastics that demonstrate specific levels of material compatibly with different products, one of the major drivers of plastic packaging is their relative low cost in comparison to metal containers including metal drums and metal IBCs. The increasing use of plastic containers within the hazardous process industries is coming under increasing scrutiny due to the hazards associated with static electricity.

Defining the meaning of the terms "static dissipative", "conductive" and "insulating".

It is important to define the terms "conductive", "insulating" and "static dissipative" (anti-static) in order to fully appreciate the capability of materials to safely dissipate electrostatic charges from objects that are correctly earthed (grounded). Conductive materials permit the transfer of electrostatic charges instantaneously. In static dissipative materials, electrostatic charges are adequately dissipated, albeit at a slower rate than conductive materials. In insulating materials, or to be more precise, poorly conducting materials, electrostatic charges tend to be retained on the material and not readily transferred, even when the material is connected to earth.

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