A flow hood is essential laboratory equipment that can help in particle contamination. A laminar airflow system refers to a system that blows air at the same speed and direction. There will not be any cross-over of air flow with such systems. On the other hand, you can also find turbulent flow hoods. As the name suggests, such equipment create swirling airflow in random direction. In laboratory, there are many contamination sensitive items. From virus samples to radioactive materials, all such critical things in laboratories need to be protected from contamination. For protection of these items from contamination, you need laminar flow hood.
Types of Flow Wall Modules
You can find two types of flow wall modules in various laboratories. The commonest type is known as horizontal flow wall module. The module is attached forward from a filter positioned behind the work surface. The other type of flow wall module is called vertical airflow module. In such systems, you will find the module attached downward from a filter positioned above the work surface. Depending on several factors, a flow wall module has been selected for a laboratory. Some of these factors are clearance requirements, work surface design, operator safety, process location, etc. In the following section, you will find features and other details of different types of flow wall modules.
Horizontal Flow Wall Module
A horizontal flow wall module provides horizontal air flow source that is required for different kinds of enclosure and tunnels systems in laboratories. In modern laboratories, you will find multiple flow wall modules that are stacked side by side. As the name suggests, horizontal flow wall modules provide a horizontal airflow source. Such flow module is ideal for most of the laboratory enclosures and tunnel systems.
For a vertical flow hood, work surface becomes an obstacle in most cases. With a rod-top or surface, air stream passes seamlessly through the hood. However, such rod-top design is problematic for handling liquid substances. If you are working with liquid or small parts, you need to go for the horizontal air flow module. Some of the pros and cons of the horizontal flow wall modules are discussed in the following section of this article.
In horizontal airflow module, the laminar airflow remains parallel to the work surface. Hence, it can easily eliminate the turbulent effect of the vertical airflow that creates conflict with the perpendicular work surfaces.
Sterile equipment and materials are easier to position with the horizontal airflow module. The work surface remains closer to the filter face. As a result, it gives protection from contaminants.
With horizontal flow modules, you will find hand and gloves will face lesser chance of being contaminated. They remain downside of the sample, and that is why chance of contamination becomes lower.
For such airflow module, minimal efforts in maintenance are required. You need to change the filter periodically. Nevertheless, you may need to reposition the hood for rear access at times.
Handling large samples with such airflow module is a difficult thing. Large samples can obstruct the laminar airflow. As a result, there is a high chance for contamination of the downstream samples.
Using the horizontal airflow module with sash is highly recommended. If sash is not there, it can blow the fumes. Moreover, it can also blow the powder into the face of the operator. So, it becomes risky to handle without sash.
Vertical Laminar Flow Hoods
Apart from horizontal flow wall modules, you can also find vertical flow wall modules. In this module, you will find the fans and filters positioned on the ceiling of the device. It directs the laminar flow downward. As a result, it reinforces gravity to sweep away the small particles out of the enclosure. Due to such design, particles may get accumulated at the bottom of the enclosure.
Minimal floor space is required. Hence, such design is suitable for small labs.
Filters are easy to access, as they are attached on the top.
Lesser chance of cross-contamination.
Air does not blow directly in direction to the operator.
Step ladder may be required for overhead servicing, cleaning, and filter changing.
No items can be placed at the top, as that will restrict airflow.
Vertical design increases the turbulent effects.
So, these are some of the basic things that you need to know about laboratory flow wall modules.
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