Dust: The Computer Killer

I'm sure we have all run our fingers down a surface to check if it needs a clean. That tell tale streak of dust that we remove tell us its time for a little spit and polish. Have you ever wondered what dust actually is? There are those that will tell you that dust is comprised mainly of dead human skin cells, which isn't a hundred percent true although there is certainly plenty of human skin in the average pile of dust.

Dust particles can vary in size from as large as a few hundred microns to just a few micrometers, the larger particles tend to fall and stick to surfaces whilst the smaller ones tend to remain airborne. Dust particles can contain everything and anything, in various quantities from skin cells, liquids (water or oils), organic materials, minerals, metals and a multitude of chemicals. It all depends on the environment that surrounds us.

In a normal office environment, where dust is usually kept to a minimum (unless it's your cleaner�s day off), problems associated with dust are usually kept to a minimum. However, in some environments huge quantities of dust can be generated by processes such as sawing, grinding, polishing and cutting.

This amount of dust can have unforeseen consequences. Dust can have serious effects on our health from causing asthma and allergies to more severe bronchial and pulmonary problems. Employees who have to work in dust-filled environments should of course be offered suitable protection, such as dust masks or even re-breathers.

However, have you ever thought what effect dust can have on computers and electrical equipment? Like us, computers need to breath. Dust can block filters and prevent air from flowing through the computer and causing it to overheat. Dust also acts as an insulator which can add to the heat build up.

Dust can also cause a short in circuit boards and integrated circuits causing computers to crash and in some cases- even catch fire!

Dust can also clog up some of the computers moving parts such as the disk drives and even block usb ports and interfaces.

There are thankfully a multitude of ways of eliminating and reducing dust. Protective covers can be used as a temporary but cheap method of refusing dust particles. Alternatively specialist dust-proof computers are manufactured but these are expensive and have to be replaced every time your IT is up-graded.

However, for a more permanent and flexible approach to protecting computer equipment from dust is to use a specialist computer enclosure. These enclosures can house your existing computers, protecting them from dust but with the added advantage of allowing you to replace or upgrade your IT whilst still keeping the same enclosures which can also protect your equipment from fire and impact.

Dust is responsible for millions of hours of IT downtime each year, don't let it happen to you, protect your computer equipment and you can both breath easily!

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