Shocking Playground

Originally Posted By: phinsperger
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When a child crawls from the blue wood structure through the yellow plastic tunnel they pick up a static charge. When the child comes through the right side and touches the metal framed structure - ZAP! Actually they don't have to touch it. The spark jumps almost 2 full inches. Its a pretty good jolt. I tried it to see for myself. This ain't no socks on the carpet zap.

The components are obviously from different manufactures and not originally designed to go together. That aside...

A bonding wire was run directly from the yellow tunnel to the ground but it did not have any affect.

Could line the tunnel with a grounded wire mesh but that wouldn't be very nice for a child to crawl on.

Could cut the three metal posts of the right structure and insert some sort of non-conductive spacer but reattaching the posts with a spacer could prove to weaken the structure.

Is there any other solutions?


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Paul Hinsperger
Hinsperger Inspection Services
Chairman - NACHI Awards Committee
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Originally Posted By: Hank Spinnler
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Paul:


Having worked in the electrostatics field for several years, I learned that you cannot ground an insulator. In this case, the insulators are the plastic slides and components. Contact between dissimilar materials, plastic and children's clothing creates friction which results in triboelectric charging. With such static generation, charges are often found to be in excess of 30,000 volts! When you come in contact or close enough to metal, a discharge will occur to create the painful zap! Humans typically can detect a zap at approximately 3,500 volts. This is often the equivalent of touching a door knob after walking across carpet in the winter.

Topical "anti-static" treatments including sprays and waxes are available from a number of vendors, mostly electronics suppliers. Frequent re-treatment is necessary to help maintain the adequate levels of static dissipation. Used indoors, ionizers that generate both positive and negative ions can help reduce the static charge as it is generated. These generally require high voltage AC blowers to move ions over the surface to be ionized.

I've often thought of tapping this market since I know first hand about the problems resulting from static buildup and discharge on this equipment. Hope this helps.

Hank Spinnler
Harmony Home Inspection Services
www.harmonyinspection.com


Originally Posted By: Greg Fretwell
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Maybe I can just mail you some humidity. icon_wink.gif


They do have antistatic wax for computer room floors but wiping it down with a Bounce dryer sheet may work


Originally Posted By: wcottrell
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Go to the plumbing store and buy some pipe insulation in the right diameter. should eliminate shock and provide bump protection.


Originally Posted By: phinsperger
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Thankyou to those who replied.


A treatment of some sort might not be the best choice for something a child is crawling on. Even a perfectly safe treatment would get worn off fairly quickly.

I think William is on the right track with covering the metal frame. I wonder though; won't the child still hold the electric charge until they eventually come down and just get zaped at ground level instead of in the play structure or does it not work that way?


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Paul Hinsperger
Hinsperger Inspection Services
Chairman - NACHI Awards Committee
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Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Try soap and water, cleaned with a good brush or cloth.



Joe Myers


A & N Inspections, Inc.


http://anii.biz

Originally Posted By: phinsperger
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jmyers wrote:
Try soap and water, cleaned with a good brush or cloth.


The kid or the equipment...I guess both wouldn't hurt ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif)


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Paul Hinsperger
Hinsperger Inspection Services
Chairman - NACHI Awards Committee
Place your Award Nominations
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Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Paul,


I meant the equipment, but yes both would not hurt! ![icon_biggrin.gif](upload://iKNGSw3qcRIEmXySa8gItY6Gczg.gif)


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Joe Myers
A & N Inspections, Inc.
http://anii.biz

Originally Posted By: hspinnler
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Paul: the static charge can remain on the child’s clothing for variable periods depending on the humidity level in the air and ground. The charge may dissipate on its own or they can transfer the charge to ground by touching or coming in close contact to a metal object or another person. Tough fix. Best material for slides would be a carbon based plastic or treatment with quarterany ammonium salts in a static-dissipative finish, which is typically used on floors.


Hank


Originally Posted By: pbennett1
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What about stray voltage?


Originally Posted By: phinsperger
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pbennett1 wrote:
What about stray voltage?

There is no electrical wiring within 80 feet of the play stucture. (the building directly behind does not have electrical service.) I am fairly confident that is static charge caused by the childs clothing rubbing on the plastic tunnel.

I ran two strips of foil (not fabric) duct tape on the bottom of the inside of the tunnel and then ran a wire from the tape to ground. The idea being that the child disipates the charge as they crawl and inadvertantly touch the tape. Multiple tiny shocks vs one bigshock is less noticable. It didn't work ![icon_evil.gif](upload://1gvq2wV2azLs27xp71nuhZOKiSI.gif) the tape has a protective coating preventing conductivitly.

I am just surprised that this hasn't been an issue for other playgrounds with electrically isolated plastic components.


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Paul Hinsperger
Hinsperger Inspection Services
Chairman - NACHI Awards Committee
Place your Award Nominations
here !

Originally Posted By: bkelly1
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I wired a grocery store year ago and the wax, or covering on the floor was building up on the buggies. May of the patrons were getting the crap shocked out of them. Those plastic wheels did not cooperate with the new floors. About a week after use, the wheels, and the floor had worn enough not to shock anyone anymore.