Understanding static dissipative epoxy vs. conductive epoxy

There are numerous misconceptions and misapplications of ANSI/ESD S20.20. Very few flooring suppliers understand this document and as a result they make improper recommendations. Without a complete understanding of S20.20, the wrong product could be purchased and installed. Is the supplier stating that the floor meets the resistive properties referenced in 20.20 or that the floor will meet S20.20 as part of a system? These are two very different performance parameters and only the second reference matters.

Let’s start with the concept of “meeting S20.20.” ANSI/ESD S20.20 is a process document – not a specification. Flooring does not meet S20.20; it meets recommended parameters derived from standard test methods referenced in S20.20. For example, S20.20 references not one but 3 standard test methods:

  1. ANSI/ESD STM 7.1: Floor Materials--Resistive Characterization of Materials. Any flooring material must measure below 1.0 X 10E9 ohms to ground. However, the flooring must also comply with the 2 parameters listed below:
  2. ANSI/ESD STM 97.1 Floor Materials and Footwear--Resistance in Combination with a Person. The recommended maximum system resistance is 3.5 X 10E7.
  3. ANSI/ESD STM 97.2: Floor Materials and Footwear Voltage Measurement in Combination with a Person. The recommended maximum voltage allowed is 100 volts.

Many flooring manufacturers state that their floors will meet ANSI/ESD S20.20. What they actually mean is that their floors will always measure less than 1.0 X 10E9. That fact has nothing to do with using a floor in a program that must meet the 2007 revision of S 20.20 because the floor is one part of a bigger picture. The full picture involves the combination of the floor, people, ground connections and controlled footwear. Hence the need for standards 2 and 3 referenced above.

Needless to say, it would be very difficult for a flooring material measuring in the upper static dissipative range (> 5.0 X 10E7) to be part of a total system measuring less than 3.5 X 10E7. The math just doesn’t work. Adding a person and footwear will increase the total system resistance to ground. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that most static “dissipative coatings” are incapable of keeping body voltages from exceeding 100 volts. Since the premise of ANSI/ESD S20.20 is preventing body voltages above 100 volts, it is impossible to state that a static dissipative floor measuring less than 1.0 X 10E9 will meet ANSI/ESD S20.20-2007.

A warranty stating compliance with ANSI/ESD S20.20 is not sufficient.

A floor should never be evaluated in isolation. It must always be qualified as part of an overall system that includes all variables including the person and the controlled footwear. When the system is evaluated, the only way to confidently meet the recommended parameters of ANSI/ESD S 20.20-2007 is to install a floor measuring less than 10,000,000 ohms to ground.