All About Textile Static Electricity

As a manufacturer, Static electricity in textiles may bring challenges for you. In the textile production process, static electricity can also impact the dyeing and finishing processes of the fabric, as well as the quality of the finished goods. This article offers you a comprehensive understanding of how static electricity is generated, the principles behind anti-static technology, and the methods for testing static electricity.

The principle of static electricity generation in fabrics

The reason textiles generate static electricity is due to the friction between fabrics. Most fabrics are poor conductors with high electrical resistance. During the production and processing process, factors such as friction, stretching, compression, peeling, and hot air drying can all lead to the generation of static electricity in the fabric.

Synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon are typically more prone to generating static electricity because these fibers have low moisture absorption, making it easier for charge transfer and accumulation during the friction process.

The hazards of static electricity in textiles

In civilian contexts, static electricity can cause textiles to attract dust and dirt during use, and clothing to cling and tangle around the body, creating discomfort. Studies have shown that static electricity can have adverse effects on human health. In industrial applications, static electricity is one of the main triggers for fires, explosions, and other accidents in industries such as pyrotechnics, chemical processing, and oil processing. It is also a source of quality and safety hazards during the processing of synthetic fibers and other textile materials. With the advancement of high technology, the consequences of static electricity have extended beyond safety issues. Static discharge can cause spectrum interference, leading to operational malfunctions, signal loss, and other issues in electronics, communications, aviation, aerospace, and any setting that uses modern electronic devices and instruments. Therefore, the demand for anti-static textiles is increasingly growing.

Anti-static methods for textiles

  • Reducing the generation of charges
  • Accelerating the leakage of charges
  • Neutralizing the generated static charges

Factors Affecting Static Electricity

Fiber Moisture Absorption: The better the hydrophilicity of the fiber, the more moisture it absorbs, the better its conductivity, and the better the anti-static effect. PS: Natural fibers have high moisture absorption, low resistance, and less static electricity; synthetic fibers have low moisture absorption, high resistance, and more static electricity.

Air Humidity: The lower the relative humidity of the air, the lower the moisture absorption rate of the fiber, making it more prone to static electricity.

Temperature: As the temperature increases, the resistance decreases, the charge carried decreases, and static electricity is reduced.

Friction Coefficient: The rougher the fiber surface, the greater the friction coefficient, the more contact points, the faster the contact speed, the more likely to generate static electricity.

Anti-Static Technology

Yarn Anti-Static: During the spinning process, conductive short fibers (metal, metal-plated, organic conductive fibers) are blended in to reduce the resistivity of the yarn and accelerate the leakage of charges. PS: Organic conductive fibers include nylon-based, polyester-based, and acrylic-based fibers.

Use of Anti-Static Agents: Surfactants are used to hydrophilize fabrics, improving moisture absorption, reducing the friction coefficient, and inhibiting the generation of static charges to eliminate static electricity.

Coating: Conductive materials (graphite, copper powder, silver powder) are mixed into the coating, which is then applied to the fabric surface. This process reduces the yarn’s resistivity and accelerates the leakage of charges.

Fabric Static Performance Testing

There are several methods for testing the static performance of fabrics, primarily including the measurement of static voltage decay time, friction-charged voltage measurement, and friction-charged quantity measurement.

Static Voltage Decay Time Method

Testing Principle: The sample is first charged in a high-voltage static electric field, then the power is cut off, and the voltage decays through a grounded metal platform. The time required for the voltage to decay to half of its initial value is the half-life period. This method assesses the fabric’s ability to quickly eliminate static electricity after its generation. It’s important to note that the contact state of samples containing conductive fibers on the grounded metal platform cannot be controlled. The test results of samples under different placement conditions vary greatly, making this method unsuitable for evaluating fabrics containing conductive fibers. The half-life is measured in seconds (s).

Friction-Charged Voltage Measurement Method

Testing Principle: The sample is rubbed against a standard cloth, and the highest voltage value generated within a specified time is measured, with the unit being volts (V). This method assesses the sample’s friction-charged situation. It’s important to note that with this method, if the sample size is too small or contains conductive fibers, the distribution of the conductive fibers may vary significantly with the sampling location, making this method unsuitable for evaluating fabrics containing conductive fibers.

Friction-Charged Quantity Measurement Method

Testing Principle: The sample, after being rubbed by a friction device, is placed into a Faraday cup to measure its charge density, with the unit being micro coulombs per square meter (μC/m²). This method assesses the sample’s friction-charged situation. It is suitable for evaluating various types of fabrics. Since the electrification by friction between the sample and the standard cloth is achieved through manual operation, the test results are susceptible to human factors.

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