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Static electricity generation cannot be prevented, but it can be mitigated or controlled by providing means of recombining separated charges as rapidly as they are produced and before sparking voltages are attained. Flammable product storage tanks have suffered in-tank fires resulting in complete loss of equipment and products. Personal injuries are possible even when the tanks are equipped with in-tank ground rods.
The technology of ionization is commonly used to reduce accumulation of static charge. In the process of ionization, the air molecules are overstressed; thus electrons are separated from the molecules. The electrons are negatively charged, and the molecules that have lost electrons then become positively charged. When a charged object is brought in contact with ionized air, the static charge is dissipated. The charge is either conducted to ground through the ionized air, or the charged object attracts a sufficient number of positively or negatively charged ions from the air to neutralize it. Ionization of air can be obtained by static brush or inductive neutralizer.
With extensive research and field testing, Petro Guardian has developed an innovative static grounding device – Static Lasso®. The Static Lasso® is constructed from non-corrosive material with a multitude of small points that remain in direct contact with the fluid and vapors inside a tank. In contrast to chains, rods, and plates, which are not effective since they present a flat surface, the Static Lasso® features a frayed carbon fiber assembly that contains a multitude of microscopic points. The Static Lasso® is non-corrosive, has low capacitance, and is highly conductive, making it a very effective means of draining static from fiberglass and lined steel tanks. The Static Lasso® operates as an inductive neutralizer that accelerates the process of charge relaxation.
The ionization occurs within the insulated tank body as the fluids with different conductivity move. Ignition can occur when the charge is above a minimum value in flammable fluids. When the grounded Static Lasso is placed within the insulated charged body, ionization at the carbon fiber tip’s points generates enough ions to accelerate the process of charge neutralization. This inductive neutralization process keeps the charge level below the level that may lead to an electrical discharge or spark.