Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



Static charge is something that most individuals recognize as something that happens when they walk across a carpet, touch their refrigerator and get shocked. Most people seldom recognize that a shock due to static charge, or properly called, Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) is a phenomenon that has significantly damaging effects. Most people who stay informed of the current news, have heard stories of static charge causing a pump at a gas station to start on fire. Some individuals may even recognize that when they change the memory on a computer, they need to ensure that they are properly electrically grounded to prevent damage to any of the sensitive electronic components within their computers. However, it is unlikely that very many individuals would ever consider that an ESD event may be significant enough to initiate an explosive material. Explosives materials are materials that many people might recognize as susceptible to initiation due to mechanical insults. Plastic and foam materials are often used to protect explosives. Unfortunately, often many of these materials are dielectric materials which are susceptible to triboelectric charge transfer, or build-up of static charge, and thus, become a potential hazardous electrical source that may cause the explosive to inadvertently initiate. To eliminate the generation of static electricity, it is important to understand the methods in which static electricity is generated on these types of materials. If the method of triboelectric charge transfer is understood, it is possible to minimize the effects to ensure that the device that is designed to prevent mechanical insults to the explosive materials does not become its greatest electrical insult. Once the method of charge transfer is understood, a potential method of charge removal might be possible to ensure that explosive devices are protected from both mechanical and electrical insults.


ESD, Electrostatic Discharge, Explosives, Surface Resistivity


Los Alamos National Laboratory

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Gilmore, Mark

Second Committee Member

Tawk, Youssef