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Can I use dryer sheets, or anti-static spray on polyurethane foam to reduce static between the foam and the polypropylene container the foam is in? I need to ship some ESD sensitive electronics overseas by air freight. The most sensitive electronics are in ESD bags, then placed in custom-cut holes in the foam. But it isn't feasible to enclose all the electronics in ESD bags. I wanted to further reduce static by using anti-static foam, but that isn't available in my area and I would have to wait weeks to have it delivered. So do you a reasonable substitute could be lining the inside of the container with anti-static dryer sheets (then putting in the foam), or spraying the polyurethane foam with anti-static spray (e.g. Downy Wrinkle Releaser)?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What is the most conductive, most flexible material you can think of? You probably have a roll of it in your kitchen. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ignacio are you saying I should cover the inside of the polypropylene container with aluminum foil? Should I cover the top (the bottom of the container lid) too, or is that unnecessary? \$\endgroup\$
    – mrblister
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 20:38

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Think of it another way - how impressed will your customers be when they see some packaging that clearly doesn't look right even though you meticulously ensured that the "method" you used was perfect.

So they phone you up and say - hey this wasn't packaged up in anti-static stuff, how can you explain that. So, you spend ten minutes on the phone telling them what you did. Hey guess what, they think you are full of BS!!

The whole idea seems wrong to me. Use the correct stuff or expect disillusioned customers.

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So do you [think] a reasonable substitute could be lining the inside of the container with anti-static dryer sheets (then putting in the foam)

Absolutely not. This will only equalize the charge on the outside of the foam. As soon as you slide an unprotected board in, it is the mechanical rubbing which creates triboelectricity. Which is to say, it occurs at the point of contact (the two rubbing surfaces), not on the outside of the foam.

If the foam was ESD foam, then it would have a very slight conductivity to it, such that sliding a board in may still generate some voltage, but this is quickly spread out to the entirety of the foam. Then everything near the board is at the same potential, therefore is safe. And if you were touching the foam, then you're at that potential also.

or spraying the polyurethane foam with anti-static spray (e.g. Downy Wrinkle Releaser)?

This might actually work, somewhat, in that the sprayed area will have a slight conductivity. But unlike the ESD foam, this only works on the sprayed area. Meaning, no conductivity to you, so the sprayed area is free to keep increasing in voltage. This is not guaranteed to work at all, but if it did work at least a little bit, it still would not be as good as ESD foam.

Consider a metalized plastic bag. These are available all over, are pretty cheap, come in many sizes, and often have a reclosible seal. If no seal, just fold the edge over and use (little pieces of regular) packing tape.

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