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Does anyone have a UK source for conductive / anti-static plastic for a home (hobby) project?
Andy Millar
1750 Posts
Question
Happy New Year - Things can only get better!

Bit of a long shot I know, but I'm really struggling with this one - I'm trying to get hold of a sheet of (ideally) conductive or (second best) static dissipative plastic for a home project (not commercial), around 5 or 10mm x 1m x 1m, does anyone have any ideas where I might be able to get some? I know it exists, but can only find it on manufacturer's websites so far, not on small scale distributors. Or any ideas for other rigid resistive material that can end up about 40mm wide x 5mm thick x 1m long? I'm happy to pay for it, but of course I'll only be buying the one sheet, not a tonne!

It's for something vaguely along the lines of an Ondes Martenot - I do enjoy building weird musical instruments - over the holidays I managed to lash up a prototype using an antistatic bag (the black type used for IC tubes) bonded to a piece of wood, which showed the principle works. But it also showed it needs something a bit more flat and rigid to work reliably.

All help and leads gratefully appreciated!

Cheers,

Andy
10 Replies
Gideon
9 Posts
What are the properties of carbon fibre sheet (or tube)? 
https://www.ecfibreglasssupplies.co.uk/product/carbon-flat-sheet-980mm-x-1000mm
The actual fibres conduct, but I don't know the properties once laminated. Might need some sanding, or be a bit uneven? 
Andy Millar
1750 Posts
Yes, it's a thought, but bit of a pig to shape, and I'm not sure it would have surface conductance, I was thinking more of conductive polycarbonate or polyethylene?

Also, given it's only a bit of fun (and an experiment which might not work) I was hoping for 10s of pounds rather than 100s 😀

Cheers,

Andy
Roger Bryant
278 Posts
An interesting one. Semicon tapes are used in MV/HV cable joints. You may be able to get something there. If you happen to know anyone in Tyco (old Raychem) they might be able to help. I am long gone from there but they did a lot with semicon polymers.
Andy Millar
1750 Posts
Thanks Roger, I hadn't come across those at all, at a quick glance they definitely look a possibility - I'll have a longer browse at lunchtime!
Alex Barrett
745 Posts
Not sure if it is appropriate, but I've found that some nickel EMC spray paint gives a very good conductivity indeed.
Andy Millar
1750 Posts
Good conductivity is easy, it's a sheet of resistance that's a challenge! 😊 That said, good point I'd also forgotten, which is that carbon loaded conductive (resistive) paint has been around for years, it's probably not wear resistant enough for what I'm looking for (and probably difficult to coat evenly enough) but still a thought...

I have just managed to get hold of a small sample of Polyethylene UHMW Anti-Static PE1000 Sheet, too small for what I need but will at least show whether it's got suitable surface resistance.

Cheers,

Andy
OMS
744 Posts
What sort of ohmic value are you looking at Andy - conductive sheet and static dissipative sheet are widely different in values

I'm thinking of the flooring systems used in such places as explosive processing areas - most of the big flooring manufacturers will usually be happy to give you a sample

Regards

OMS

 
Andy Millar
1750 Posts
Hi,
Good question, I'd prefer conductive as it'll give better noise (EMC) rejection, but dissipative would be ok - it's very much a case of beggars not being choosers! Ideal would be 10's of kilohms over my 1m length, (of 40mm  x 5mm ish)
Excellent idea about the flooring, I'd never have thought of that, with a few seconds of Googling after that hint I think I may have found just the thing 🙂 Here's a first virtual pint to all for the help 🍺 I'll post a video on here along with a second virtual pint if I ever get this beast working...
Cheers,
Andy


 
OMS
744 Posts
OK - conductive flooring is usually above 1x 10^5 and usually not above 1x 10^6 - we tend to use ESD footwear (or scraping shoe tags) for safety. If it's much lower resistance it all gets a tad dangerous if there are faults on

Dissipative flooring is more in the range of 1 x 10^7 through to about 1 x 10^9 - this is for more general use where you might have "ordinary persons" present - ie ordinary footwear

Some manufacturers (polyflor being one) do have some pretty low resistance flooring sheets (but they need very careful application as a flooring product due to shock risk) - for your application that wouldn't (presumably) be a risk though 

Hope that helps

Regards

OMS
Andy Millar
1750 Posts
OMS:
 for your application that wouldn't (presumably) be a risk though 
 

Yes, provided I remember not to try playing it with my tongue the 5V shock risk should be ok 😁

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