Engineers are well informed about the need for appropriate HVAC systems in rooms that contain IT servers for mission critical facilities. The consequences of interruption of information transfer in these settings can be immediate, expensive, and life threatening. To help prevent circuitboard malfunction and failure, the surrounding indoor temperatures and humidity must be maintained in ranges that dissipate heat and prevent damaging static electricity discharges.
What is static electricity (SE) and how is it associated with indoor conditions? SE is a form of potential energy, which is different from the kinetic energy of flowing electrical currents. Potential energy increases when electrons and their associated negative charge accumulates on certain materials, and are “eager” to jump to a more positively charged material to return to a lower energy state. The “jump” is the little shock we experience when, after walking on a carpet in winter, we pet our friendly dog, or touch a metal doorknob. A lightning bolt is the same phenomenon at a much larger scale.