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Question I am not clear on the value of wearing a smock. People at my company tend to believe that if a person is wearing a wrist strap, a smock is redundant. This is due to the belief that any charge on the person or their clothes would find its way to ground via the wrist strap. - Anonymous, Brooklyn Park, MN
Answer You are very astute to ask this question. This is a common misconception. Most clothing is insulative or has insulative properties (depending on how much sweat has saturated the clothing, thickness, composition, layers, etc.). An insulator will not or does not let charge flow and will therefor hold the charge until either neutralized over time (naturally over hours or days) or with an air ionizer (artificially under a few seconds). In the mean time, your sleeves, waist, etc. may have several thousand volts (a very significant electric field to expose nearby conductors) that may induce charges on nearby isolated conductors. This is the main reason people wear ESD smocks, to shield the insulative clothing so as to minimize the electric fields generated from this clothing. ESPECIALLY MAKE SURE YOU TUCK IN YOUR REGULAR SLEEVES INSIDE THE SMOCK.
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