What is electrostatic discharge (ESD) and how is it created? Which dangers does an ESD present?

ESD is the abbreviation for "electrostatic discharge" and describes the equalisation of electrical charges between two unevenly charged materials. For example, this can be electrical shocks, when you touch a vehicle while you are getting out of it or lightenings.

When two objects, being charged either positive or negative, are rubbed against each other and then separated, a difference of electrical potential is created.

When two different potentials get approached, these charges suddenly flow from one object to the other.

Even the human body can be charged by walking and can keep this charge until discharge occurs trough touching an object.

These discharges usually are harmless for humans, but the situation is different for example in the case of electronics assemblies, where electrostatic discharge can lead to failure of components, repair costs etc.

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