Antistatic agent

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An additive that minimizes or dissipates the accumulation of electrical charge. Static electrical charges, which can buildup on some polymers, attract dust and foreign matter. Antistatic agents, developed in the 1950s, are typically hygroscopic and thus attract moisture that dissipates the charge. Examples of some antistatic agents are quaternary ammonium salts, aliphatic amines, phosphate esters, and ethylene glycols. They have been applied as coatings for acrylic sheets (Lucite®, Plexiglas®, etc.) and plastic films (Polyethylene, Mylar®, etc.). Antistatic coatings are also applied to some phonograph records, digital records tapes, textiles and paper products.

Synonyms and Related Terms

antistat; destatic agent; destaticization; anti-static agent

Collection Risks

Treated polymers should not be used in contact with artifacts.

Links to Oddy Test results posted on AIC Wiki Materials Database Pages for individual materials below

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 789
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • E.J.LaBarre, Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Paper-making, Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, 1969
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Wikipedia: Antistatic agent (Accessed Mar. 20, 2006 and June 2023)
  • Marjorie Shelley, The Care and Handling of Art Objects, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, 1987
  • Pam Hatchfield, Pollutants in the Museum Environment, Archetype Press, London, 2002
  • Conservation Support Systems, Catalog, 1997
  • Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988
  • Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online,, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000