Mission Critical and Data Centers
The choice of anti static flooring for a mission critical / data center involves a number of considerations but, the single most important factor is the type of footwear people will be wearing while working in the data center. In most situations, footwear cannot be controlled in data centers. For this reason it is always recommended that you select your floor with the premise that the floor must prevent static regardless of the composition of the shoe soles your people choose to wear in the work place.
Approaching the selection process from this perspective enables you to inhibit static generation on anyone at anytime regardless of humidity, the sensitivity of your servers or the application and critical nature the servers represent to your mission or operation.
Generally speaking, the effectiveness of static control flooring properties is based on:
- A floor’s ability to prevent static in the first place regardless of traffic, humidity or the type of footwear worn by people occupying the space. This ability is called preventing body voltage generation or BVG. This property is measured using test method ANSI/ESD S97.2 or AATCC 134. The test results should include measurements with and without static control footwear.
- The intrinsic ability of the floor to be grounded. This is also called finding a traceable “Ground path.” This property is measured using test method ANSI/ESD S7.1-2005. Test results should be obtained on samples that have been preconditioned at humidity levels below 20%. A “highly recommended floor” will usually measure below 1.0 X 10E8 ohms using this test. In the case of anti-static carpet, the test should be performed on new and used carpet to determine if traffic and abuse will degrade the Groundable path.
Suitable Flooring Solutions:
The following materials have been evaluated for effectiveness in data centers. They appear in descending order of suitability:
Best: 2 layer Eclipse EC rubber tile and sheet flooring.
- Material cost approximately 5-6 dollars per square foot:
- Disadvantage: Initial cost
- Advantage: Lifetime static control, Prevents static on any type of footwear, can be installed over raised access flooring panels or on bare concrete
Highly Recommended: ShadowFX modular carpet tile
- Material cost approximately $3.75-$4.00 per square foot.
- Major disadvantages: Difficulty rolling heavy equipment over soft surface, contaminants become trapped in carpet – excess yarn fibers could become lodged in cooling fans.
- Advantage: Lifetime static control properties, Excellent sound absorption properties, Can be installed without adhesive over raised access floors
Recommended but less effective than options 1 and 2: Conductive Vinyl
- Disadvantage: Best when used in conjunction with antistatic footwear.
- Advantage: Cost (approximately $3.25-$4.00 per square foot)
Marginally effective: Static Dissipative vinyl
- Cost: same as conductive vinyl.
- Disadvantage: offers negligible static control performance versus traditional/standard vinyl flooring
- ESD grade - 2.5 X 10E4 to 1.0 X 10E8 - carpet tile with conductive backing: Standards organizations do not recommend this type of tile for use around operational computer equipment due to safety considerations because it is too conductive.
- Computer grade floors such as low KV carpet, antistatic and static dissipative SDT, High Pressure Laminates (HPL). The anti-static properties of these options quickly degrade after installation and it has been documented in numerous studies that all of these materials become less effective without the regular applications of special anti static waxes, dissipative polishes and Statguard sprays. These materials are often incorrectly specified as meeting the outdated IBM Burroughs test.
Although static control vinyl is a significant upgrade over traditional types of flooring, most studies have show that vinyl is less effective than rubber for static mitigation in environments where street shoes are typically worn.
Protection for Mission Critical Applications
The most important considerations when choosing anti static flooring for a mission critical environment are:
1. Electrical Safety: Use floors with resistance to ground measurements above 1.0 X 10 E5. Highly conductive floors (2.5 X 10 E4) should be avoided due to safety risks. Highly conductive floors are intended for explosives handling and applications where footwear is tested on a regular basis for electrical grounding properties
2. Floor must prevent static on people wearing ordinary footwear.
3. Lifetime static control properties
4. Suitability for the space: ergonomics, durability, maintenance
Eclipse EC Rubber and ShadowFX Modular Carpet Are Ideal for:
- Airport and Flight Control
- Casino and Gaming Areas
- Command Centers
- Control Rooms
- Data Centers
- Data Storage Centers
- Emergency Dispatch 9-1-1 Call Centers
- Government Command Centers
- Healthcare – ER, OR, MRI
- Stock Exchanges
- Computer Rooms
- Public Safety
- Raised Access Flooring Installations
- Secure Compartments
- Server Rooms
- Radio and Television
- Electronics Manufacturing
- Research and Development
Ideal for Government Applications:
- FAA ATCT
- Government CCC facilities
- Military EOC's
- MP and fire dispatch rooms
- NASA command centers
- NASA Command Centers
- Engineering Labs
- Government Data Centers: National Archives, IRS, SSA, NSA, FBI, CIA, etc.
Flight Control Area Concerns: Flooring Selection Matrix
|Staticworx EC Rubber||Staticworx SD Rubber||ShadowFX Modular Carpet|
|Antistatic with standard footwear||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|No wax option||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Easy rolling of chairs||Yes||Yes||No|
|Permanent static control properties: Lifetime warranty||Yes||No||Yes|
|Access floor compatible||Yes||custom only||Yes|
|Non glare surface||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Low odor installation||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Meets Indoor Air Quality Standard 1350||Yes||Yes||No|
|Lint free surface: will not trap particles||Yes||Yes||No|
The following floors offer the best compatibility for flight control areas:
- Best option: ShadowFX Modular Carpet Tile
- Staticworx EC rubber flooring
- Staticworx SD rubber flooring