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Insulated Silicone Rework Mat ESD safety
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Insulated Silicone Rework Mat ESD safety

by mustardrat on Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:00 am

I bought the silicone mat described here:-

https://www.adafruit.com/product/3536

This is sold as a soldering mat for reworking PCBs, so I had assumed it would be ESD safe. However I was alarmed to discover that when I lifted the mat from my workbench I could hear crackles of static electricity. The workbench has a grounded ESD mat, and I was using the silicone mat on top of this, to provide heat resistance.

Is this silicone mat suitable for working with ESD sensitive components, and am I using it correctly?

Thanks,
Robert

mustardrat
 
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Re: Insulated Silicone Rework Mat ESD safety

by adafruit_support_mike on Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:04 am

The silicone mat is non-conductive, but not static dissipative. That's this one:

https://www.adafruit.com/product/4405

In general, plastics that are good insulators will also hold a static charge on their surface. Teflon is an amazing insulator, but is notorious for storing triboelectric charge.. Horowitz and Hill tell a story about it in _TAOE_.

You can improve the dissipative ability of a plastic surface by rubbing it with a dryer sheet. Those contain a dissipative material to reduce static cling in dry fabrics.

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Re: Insulated Silicone Rework Mat ESD safety

by mustardrat on Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:07 am

Thank you for clarifying that.

I was looking to use the silicone mat to provide extra heat resistance to prevent damage to my grounded ESD mat and bench. However it seems that the silicone mat eliminates the protection offered by the ESD mat and so I can't use it for the intended job.

The product description of the silicone mat should be changed to state that it is not suitable for use with ESD sensitive components.

mustardrat
 
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Re: Insulated Silicone Rework Mat ESD safety

by adafruit_support_mike on Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:47 am

I'll mention that to the folks who handle the pages in the shop. Thanks!

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