Does the airflow create static electricity?

This is a common question with a straightforward answer. No, the airflow beneath an access floor poses no static threat whatsoever.

Static electricity is generated by contact and separation. Airflow causes static electricity only when the air is particulate-laden and the particulates are large, meaning numerous and visible. For example, in sand and dust storms that occur in dry climates, sand and dust particles are blown into and away from billboards and plastic signs. The contact and separation between the particulates and the charged surfaces generates static electricity, leaving high charges on the billboards and signs. In the these situations dust and particles will cling to the sign or billboard due to the static generated.

Remember: it is the particulates in the air, not the air itself, that causes static electricity. Normal air—even the air in a typical wind storm—does not contain enough particulates to charge up other surfaces. Like compressed air or the air circulated by a forced hot air system, the cold air (even if it is very dry) flowing under an access floor cannot generate static electricity: the air flowing across cables under an access floor poses no threat of static shock to personnel or hardware.


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