Charge Relaxation Decay Time Testing for Powders and Solid Materials 1 scaled

The charge decay time test is a method used to assess the ability of materials to dissipate or eliminate electric charges over time. This test measures the rate at which the charge dissipates from a material’s surface after it has been charged, often due to static electricity or electrostatic discharge (ESD). The rate of charge dissipation or relaxation is an essential characteristic for materials used in applications where the buildup and dissipation of static charges can impact performance, safety, or product quality.


The material to be tested is conditioned at a relative humidity of 50% for at least 12 hours. The material is placed on a conducting plate and the surface of the material is charged with a potential of about 5000V.

The charging mechanism could be performed through corona or by triboelectrification. A static monitor is used to monitor the charge on the material’s surface. A grounding cable is quickly applied to the material and the time it takes for the material to dissipate or relax 50%, 10% and 1% of its initial charge is recorded with any suitable time measuring device such as a Picoscope. A graphical representation of the charge decay is also represented. The test applies to both powder and solid materials.


Charge Decay Time Set up

Applicable Standard

The charge relaxation time is performed in accordance MIL-STD-3010 , IEC-61340-4-4 and NFPA 77.

Data interpretation

According to MIL-STD-3010, a material that relaxes its initial charge to 10% within 5 seconds is considered to be static dissipative material. By knowing the charge relaxation time of your material, measures can be put in place to safely handle the material. This can be achieved by providing proper earthing of equipment and personnel handling the material. Charge relaxation testing is crucial in industries involving electronics, manufacturing, packaging, and areas where static charges can impact product quality, safety, or functionality.

When to perform Charge Decay Time

Charge decay time is recommended for all materials that have a propensity to accumulate charge during handling and processing. It provides an indication of the material’s ability to self-dissipate static charge. A dissipative material will allow charge to migrate over its surface and/or through its volume in a time that is short compared to an insulating material, which will exhibit a long undesirable charge relaxation time.

Why work with Prime Process Safety Center

  • Prime Process Safety Center is a leader in process safety testing with very experienced laboratory personnel. At Prime Process Safety Center our goal is to provide accurate, reliable and defensible data that meets industry and regulatory standards. We understand the need for the quality of your data, and we work assiduously to achieve just that.
  • We are knowledgeable and experienced in performing various electrostatics tests including charge decay time, ensuring accurate and reliable results.
  • We have state-of-the-art charge decay time testing equipment, providing precise and sensitive measurements.
  • We follow strict testing protocols and quality control measures to ensure consistent and reliable test results.
  • Our team can interpret and analyze the data obtained from the tests, providing valuable insights and recommendations for your specific application or research.


1. What is Charge Relaxation?

Answer: Charge relaxation refers to the dissipation or reduction of electric charge on a material’s surface over time, typically after being charged due to static electricity or electrostatic discharge (ESD).

2. Why is Charge Relaxation Important?

Answer: Charge relaxation is crucial in assessing a material’s ability to dissipate static charges, impacting product quality, safety, and functionality, especially in electronics, manufacturing, and packaging.

3. How is Charge Relaxation Tested?

Answer: Charge relaxation testing involves charging a material’s surface to a known voltage and then measuring the rate at which the surface voltage decreases over a specified time to evaluate its dissipation characteristics.

4. What Factors Affect Charge Relaxation?

Answer: Material composition, surface properties, environmental conditions (temperature, humidity), and the presence of additives influence a material’s ability to relax charge.

5. What Equipment is Used for Charge Relaxation Testing?

Answer: Specialized equipment such as high-impedance voltmeters or electrometers are used to measure and monitor surface charge dissipation rates over time.

6. How Does Charge Relaxation Impact ESD Control?

Answer: Understanding charge relaxation helps in designing antistatic materials or products to prevent electrostatic discharge-related damage in sensitive electronic components or manufacturing processes.

7. Where is Charge Relaxation Testing Applied?

Answer: Charge relaxation testing finds application in industries dealing with electronics, packaging, and materials susceptible to static charges that can impact product quality or performance.

8. Are There Standardized Methods for Charge Relaxation Testing?

Answer: Various organizations and standards bodies offer guidelines or testing methods to assess charge relaxation properties in materials, aiding in standardizing testing procedures.

9. What are the Implications of Charge Relaxation in Material Selection?

Answer: Materials with effective charge relaxation properties are preferred in applications requiring controlled conductivity, ESD prevention, or where static charges can affect performance.

10. How Does Charge Relaxation Testing Benefit Product Quality?

Answer: By evaluating charge relaxation, manufacturers can select materials that maintain stable electrical properties, ensuring product reliability, safety, and minimizing ESD-related risks.