Laminate or hardboard with antistatic properties?


My neighbor is building a small child's slide for indoor use. The trick is that his daughter has a cochlear implant, and static electricity discharge can short out the implant, both the external part as well as the actual implant.
He's looking for materials to use for the slide itself that won't cause problems with electrostatic discharge. Either a countertop type laminate or some other material, or looking for ways to ground the slide surface itself so that any charge is safely drained. Is there such a thing as an ESD-proof countertop laminate?
Ideas and suggestions greatly appreciated.
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wrote:

hmmm.... how about metal?
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I would put the question to one of the manufacturers of play equipment.
There are ways to earth the slide to aid in avoiding static buildup but I would not rely on them in a critical application.
There are also antistatic sprays for use on fabrics.
The material of the childs clothing would also be a factor.
A metal slide sounds like a good solution.
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Yes, there is...you might want to check with a company called Everett Charles as they use such a laminate on the surface of the test fixtures (they don't manufacture it but given your usage, they'd probably tell you the source)...also, you can get things like ESD paint and ESD floor wax (from companies like Grainger). The most certain way of making sure you don't have ESD problems is to use a conductive material like metal (if it would be safe in your application...sounds like it would). Also, use a humidifier (NOT a de-humidifier) to keep the air conductive to reduce the possibility of a sudden discharge of static electricity. For some further insight on ESD, you might want to check 3M's website...they make products for the electronics industry that even include an ESD vacuum cleaner (airflow past an insulator will create a static charge).
Good luck, George

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wrote:

The short answer is that yes, they exist and are used in static-safe work areas. The long answer is that finding this may be difficult -- you might try Graingers. These laminates are loaded with conductive material, so you also need to ground them in order for the ESD-proof function to work. First I've heard that cochlear implants were subject to this damage -- our son has a friend with one and this was never brought up.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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Thanks. I'll check Grainger's. Metal may or may not be appropriate, as this slide is going into a day care kind of situation, and I don't know what the rules are, but it seems clear that in order to totally avoid the ESD, whatever is used either needs to be entirely incapable of generating a static charge, or it needs to be grounded.
Is hardboard (like pegboard is made out of) generally static safe? Might be an option.
As for the static/cochlear thing, that's what he told me. I don't have any actual cites for it, but it's his kid and he wants to be as sure as he can, I guess.
Ben
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I'd also pick up an ohmmeter and verify resistance...look for 7000 ohms per inch or less and ground the material. PLEASE double check the threshold (7000 ohms) that I've given you...I've used this for electronic products for years BUT do NOT know if it is appropriate for such an important application. Possibly Underwriters' Laboratories would know for certain.
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