Answered: Anti-Static Spray on robot wheels

Karthik,

After having severe problems with static at a couple of competitions we noticed some teams spraying static guard on their wheels at the beginning of the day. We adopted this habit and had not had a malfunction that we could attribute to static since. We chose to go with a commercially available aerosol spray which we had seen used on the mats at tournaments so nobody could make claims of some traction enhancing home-brew substance being sprayed out of a pump bottle.

While at a tournament yesterday the Head Referee came to our pits before out first match and was going to ban us from the competition for spraying hair spray on our wheels. I got our mentor to explain to him that it was anti-static spray which evaporated leaving only quaternary ammonium salts behind. To the best of our or anybody else’s knowledge anti-static spray does nothing to alter the rubber on the wheels and should have absolutely no effect on traction. We have only used this spray at events where it is a known fact that the fields have not been sprayed. While others may disagree I think as it currently stands without a previous Q&A ruling this action is no different than spraying component cooler on motors.

We would like a ruling on this so we can be assured that we are 100% compliant with all of the rules, if needed we will redesign our robot to use quadrature encoders so we can avoid static issues all together.

Thanks in advance.

The use of anti-static spray on wheels is legal, provided it used in moderation, and it does not leave any sort of excessive residue on the field. We recommend you spray your wheels early enough such that the moisture has evaporated before you place your Robot on the field.