Disposable gloves and finger cots are used in Electrostatic Protected Areas (EPAs) to either protect humans from chemical contamination or to protect devices from human-based contamination. Although some human contaminants, such as skin flakes and hair, can be removed easily through cleaning, other residuals cannot be removed even with degreasing. Some oils and residuals found on human hands and fingers can be corrosive enough to etch into a component or device (EOS/ESD Association, Inc, 2016, pp. 85, Section 22.0 ). The problem with wearables is that they are often made from materials that can cause an ESD event.
Many static-generating materials such as latex, can be made ESD-safe by adding an anti-static additive into the material. Latex is affordable and elastic making it a suitable choice for many static control applications; so why use an alternative, like nitrile?
The most common reason to use nitrile ESD-safe disposable gloves is that they do not contain any form of latex making them ideal for anyone with latex allergies. But there are other reasons aside from having a longer shelf life and being naturally anti-static (no additives).
Nitrile is super tough! As a barrier, not only is nitrile a superior material when it comes to puncture resistance, it is more chemical resistant than natural rubber. Since nitrile can withstand permeation, these gloves are less likely to absorb water in damp environments.
Lastly, nitrile is known for its ergonomic properties. Being more elastic than vinyl and having lower resistance to friction, nitrile gloves are easy to put on and take off. Once wearing, body heat will warm the nitrile and allow the material to conform to the hand for a natural, comfortable fit – good for longer wear times. When working with adhesives, look for powder-free nitrile like ACL’s Staticide® ESD Nitrile Gloves or Staticide® Nitrile ESD Finger Cots.
Works Cited: EOS/ESD Association, Inc. (2016). Handbook for the Development of an Electrostatic Discharge Control Program for the Protection of Electronic Part, Assembleies and Equipment. Rome, NY: Electrostatic Discharge Association.