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Question We are currently introducing ESD precautions within our company and wish to know whether garments made from 100% cotton will be adequate to protect against damage from ESD.
Resistive tests on the garments seeem to indicate the correct values for dissipative material. We are at present using this material for our company tea shirts. The working conditions are very warm and everyone would be reluctant to wear coats or jackets above over these.
So it cotton an acceptable as an ESD protective garment? -James Milton, Radiodetection Ltd., United Kingdom
Answer Cotton may be suitable for your work environment as it tends to triboelectric generate less than most synthetic materials. ESD Smocks are used for a couple of reasons, some of which are:
  1. for programs with HBM/CDM/MM ESD component classifications of 0
  2. to control electric field problems caused by human hair, street clothing that may come into near proximity of ESD Sensitive devices
  3. for managerial/organizational purposes by making it easy to identify folks who should or shouldn’t be in ESD Safe working areas.

If you’ve determined that the clothing worn by your employees doesn’t cause ESD concerns relative to the strictness of your Control Program, or that cotton T-shirts satisfy these requirements, then by all means employ them. You may want to verify this by taking field measurements and comparing the results with the constraints of your internal ESD Control Program.
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