# Is a metallic conductor within an electrostatic field necessarily subject to discharge?

Basically what I'm trying to determine is if the new RAM chips I received in the mail were potentially damaged from static electricity.

Late last night, tired and foggy, I built up a considerable amount of static electricity while fetching a mail envelope in a pair of flannel-type pajama bottoms. The envelope contained some RAM chips. After sitting down and opening the envelope, I set the unopened chips on my leg so that I could put away my trusty mail opener. While leaning forward to do so I could hear and feel some static crackling as the pant fabric stretched and rubbed against my leg in the vicinity of where I had placed the RAM chips.

The packaging isn't air tight by any means so I'm not sure if there is a possibility that the chips were exposed directly to the static field, and worse if any discharge into the chips could've resulted?

This leads back to my original question: does a static field continuously discharge into a metal conductor. That is, will a static field discharge into a (non-insulated) metal conductor if such a conductor simply resides within it, or must a certain threshold of distance (depending on charge/field strength and humidity) be crossed in order for the specific event/phenomena of ESD (electrostatic discharge) to occur (perceivable or not)?

• Why were your RAM chips in some flannel-type pajama bottoms? Is this some kind of a joke? – Andy aka May 6 '20 at 14:17
• will the static field discharge into a (non-insulated) metal conductor simply by being within it - I don't understand - how can a static field be within a metal conductor. – Andy aka May 6 '20 at 14:21
• electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/477807/… – DKNguyen May 6 '20 at 14:37
• A electrostatic field is not a static discharge. If enough charge accumulates so potential differences is high enough it can move through or around an insulator. If it can't the charge just sits there localized on the insulator equalizing throughout very slowly. Did it punch through your RAM's packaging plastic? I don't know. But it is better than if was not in the packaging rather than not if ESD was happening outside. This does not mean you handling the packaging won't make you pick up localized on the packaging and shock the RAM chips as you take them out. – DKNguyen May 6 '20 at 14:42