Airflow Control Prevents Contamination in Your Cleanroom
What makes a cleanroom a cleanroom? Glass enclosed spaces are common today in business and academic settings. With their glass walls and doors, cleanrooms may resemble other spaces, but their function is not decorative. Their architectural components serve a purpose, and that purpose is to facilitate air flow control and filtering so that a standard of cleanliness can be maintained in the room. In this blog we will discuss the importance of air flow.
Airflow Control in Your Cleanroom
How and why does air flow through a cleanroom? The cleanroom space is quarantined so that contamination can be controlled within it. This is why its walls, ceilings, and doors must be airtight.
Within this airtight space, the air is continuously cleaned using a series of air locks and air flow control systems. In a standard office environment, HVAC units may change or push air 10 times an hour. In comparison, a cleanroom has 20-600 air changes per hour, depending on its cleanliness specification. That continuous air flow removes contaminants like dust or microorganisms that may be introduced into the room either by people entering and exiting or shed by objects within the room.
The air is filtered through High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters which are designed to capture micro-size particles. They are 99.99% efficient at 0.3 microns. Ultra Low Particulate Air (ULPA) filters are 99.999% efficient at 0.1 microns, removing 99.999% of particles with a minimum particle penetration size of 100 nanometers.
While fan filter units (FFUs) are essential for ensuring cleanliness, airflow control is equally important. The air flows through the HVAC system, gets purified, and flows back into the cleanroom. The most common type of airflow is laminar flow in which the air travels in layers across the room, either horizontally or downward. These layers of air are taken in again through vents in the walls or floor and are then returned to the filters in the ceiling. From there the whole process continues, with the filtered air entering the cleanroom again.
Cleanrooms are also designed to contain surfaces that do not interfere with airflow and are easy to clean and do not shed particulate matter. But whether the airflow within the cleanroom is unidirectional, non-unidirectional, or a combination of the two, having uniform cleanroom airflow matters. It’s important to prevent areas within the cleanroom where contamination can build up.
Turbulent air, or air that flows chaotically, causes the uncontrolled movement of contaminants or dead zones within the cleanroom. These are spaces where there is no airflow at all, where contaminants are free to accumulate. They must be eliminated for the cleanroom to operate effectively.
Proper airflow control eliminates dead spots and turbulent air within the room, making the job of continuous cleaning easier. Technical Air Products offers high quality modular cleanrooms and isolation rooms at a competitive price. Please take a moment to review the cleanroom products on our website and request a quote for your organization.