Monday, October 01, 2007

While vaccuuming sand with a 6m long and 5cm dia. pvc pipe connected to a flexible pvc hose attached to the vaccuum truck, a considerable amount of static is produced, shocking the worker holding the apparatus. How can I reduce the shocks?

It's difficult to say for sure without examining the situation, But there are two main possibilities. The main one is that the operator is getting charged up and eventually discharges to some nearby object, feeling a shock. If the operator is standing on a concrete floor, or other conductive material, and they wear "antistatic", static dissipative or conductive shoes, then their body should not charge up and the shocks can often be avoided.

However the root cause of the charging is the dust in the pipe. Dust particles impact the pipe walls and create static electricity on the pipe walls. If there are any isolated (not earthed) metal parts these will charge up and can be the source of shocks. The best way to get rid of these risks may be to replace the pipe with conductive or static dissipative pipe, and earth it. Any metal parts in the pipe system should also be earthed (grounded).

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