I have recently ordered some nitrile gloves for the cleanroom of which I am lab manager. I noticed that when I wear the gloves and test the ESD wrist straps, they are all failing. Can someone please explain? I didn't think the gloves would interfere with the wrist straps.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you talking about the conductivity tester for the ESD strap? \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Apr 18 '19 at 16:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are the gloves specified as Static Dissipative? \$\endgroup\$ – mike65535 Apr 18 '19 at 16:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there actually a problem? If you test the contact without the gloves and pass then any incidental contact with skin would be protected. As the contact test with gloves fail, then any contact via the gloves would be insulated and not transfer ESD charge from the skin. \$\endgroup\$ – scorpdaddy Apr 18 '19 at 18:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ "*Why is my ESD wriststrap failing ...?" Failing what? Falling off? Punctured by the wriststrap? Causing ESD? Please edit your question to explain. \$\endgroup\$ – Transistor Apr 18 '19 at 18:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Stupid question: Is the wrist strap under the glove or over it? \$\endgroup\$ – Hot Licks Apr 19 '19 at 1:47

Nitrile is not a particularly conductive substance. In fact it is probably a decent insulator for non-critical purposes. You shouldn't count on health care or maintenance type gloves being an insulator for purposes of electrical safety (especially as they are so easily pierced), but they are presumably insulating enough at low voltages to fail an ESD test.

You likely need to consider the entire design of your process and procedures, not just what some bench meter says (regardless if it appears to approve or disprove). Perhaps parts never leave protective packaging or fixtures. There are also purportedly ESD gloves sold which may be more suitable for your process (or required procedures) than those made for the health care market.


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