Building Design and Construction

Conductive Flooring

Where explosive vapors are present, sparks resulting from accumulation of static electricity constitute a hazard. The most effective of several possible ways of mitigating this hazard is to keep electrical resistance so low that dangerous voltages never are attained.
Most objects normally rest or move on the floor and therefore can be electrically connected through the floor. Flooring of sufficiently low electrical resistance (conductive
flooring) thus is of paramount importance in elimination of electrostatic hazards. But the electrical resistance must be high enough to eliminate electric shock from faulty electrical wiring or equipment.
Electrical conductivity of flooring is improved by addition of acetylene black (carbon). In ceramic, rubber, and vinyl floors, the carbon is finely dispersed in the material during manufacture; in latex terrazzo, concrete terrazzo, and setting-bed cement for ceramic tile, the carbon is uniformly dispersed in the dry powder mixes, placed in containers, and shipped for on-the-job composition (‘‘Conductive Flooring for Hospital Operating Rooms,’’ Monograph 11, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 3460, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-3460).
For linoleum flooring, brass seam connectors with projecting points are used for electrical intercoupling between sheets. For vinyl tiles, copper foil is placed between the adhesive and tile for electrical intercoupling.
When flammable gases are in use, everyone and everything must be electrically intercoupled via a static conductive floor at all times. To ensure this, constant vigilance, inspection by testing, and a high standard of housekeeping are required.
Wax or dirt accumulation on the floor and grounding devices can provide high resistance to electrical flow and cancel the effect of conductive flooring.

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