In some working environments there is great risk of explosions and ignition due to electrical discharge. This safety issue was the basis for the project carried out by the Nanotechnology Department on the development of footwear capable of dissipating the electrostatic charges
Traditionally, the most common material for the soles of safety footwear was polyurethane (PU), due to its flexibility, shock absorption properties and high resistance to oils and hydrocarbons. The often added thermo-plastic polyurethane (TPU) improved the abrasion of the sole and its durability. However, the conductivity of electricity of both materials, PU and TPU is not very high. The lack of an alternative sole with electrical conductive properties has driven the CTCR to search a viable solution.
The result is a new special sole for safety footwear with micro-channels containing a conductive gel that connects the foot with the earth. With this system it is possible to reach high levels of electric conductivity, regardless the type of rubber used for the sole and without the necessity of modifying the production process. This innovation in footwear for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) increases the safety of workers by enabling electrical discharge through the shoes and minimizing the risk of electric shock or explosions. Tests on the obtained safety footwear categorize it as C, with a resistance of 0.04MΩ, way below the limits established by ISO 20344:2011. Hereby, the shoe fulfills the PPE electrical resistance requirements, has better slip resistance and higher ergonomic properties with more flexibility and shock absorption.
The footwear manufacturer Garmaryga will be commercializing this conductive safety boots that are ideal for work environments with high voltage or potential risk of explosion, such as chemical laboratories, petrol stations, power plants, etc.