Research and Medical laboratories require a clean and sterile environment. When working in a lab, one must take measures to prevent the contamination caused by infectious materials. Microbiological processes can especially boost the production of particulates and other infectious matter. Laminar Flow Hoods are used in the laboratories to minimize such contamination. Thus, the flow hoods play a sanitary role and promote a sanitary environment by ensuring a constant flow of air and filtration of the germs.
Laminar Flow Hoods ensure that the air flows in the same direction at the same speed, from the clean areas to the flow hoods and then to the exit. Proper circulation of the air in the lab ensures that the work environment remains clean and sterile because it is important.
The Working of a Laminar Flow Hood
To know if your laminar flow hood is working well or not, you will first need to know the basic working principle of a laminar flow hood. A typical flow hood consists of a fan, a filter pad to get rid of the particulates and a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. These three main elements work in synchronization to get rid of the germs in the air.
- The fan in the hood is responsible for drawing in air. This air is pulled through the filter pads which traps the dust particles immediately.
- When the air is free of dust, it is passed through the HEPA filters which get rid of the microbes like bacteria and fungi and any other contaminants in the air. Thus, it is perfectly safe.
- This filtered and sterilized air then flow out to the work area where you can perform all your research and experiments, without having to worry about contamination.
Types of Flow Hoods
According to the direction of the flow of air in the flow hoods, there are two major types of laminar flow hoods. Depending on your application, you will have to decide the flow of the laminar hoods.
Vertical Laminar Flow Hoods
In a vertical flow hood, the contaminated air enters from the top of the area and clean, filtered is is delivered through the holes in the base of the cabinet. The air filter in the hood is mounted directly above the work area. They provide protection to the ab workers as well as the lab environment and samples.
Horizontal Laminar Flow Hoods
In a horizontal laminar flow hood, the flow of air is from the back to the front. The contaminated air is pulled in through the back of the working area and the clean air is released in the front. The filter is mounted on the wall directly in front of the workbench. Thus, the horizontal flow hoods are designed to protect the substance of work. They do not guarantee the complete safety of the workers in the lab.
Classes of Laminar Flow Hoods
Based on their working principle and level of protection offered, laminar hoods can be divided into three different classes:
Class I –
Class I laminar hoods are the simplest of all, with a design similar to that of a chemical fume hood. They offer adequate protection to both, the lab environment and the workers in the lab. However, it does not protect the work samples from contamination.
Class II –
The second class of laminar flow cabinets offer protection against hazardous contaminants. Thus, it disinfects the area and provides protection to both the workers and the lab samples. They are suitable to be used with potentially hazardous materials.
Class III –
The class III laminar flow hoods offer the highest level of safety and create an air-tight environment. They are the best choice when working with infectious substances and human pathogens.
Laminar Flow Cabinets are an integral part of the lab environment that keeps the lab sterile. Their working principle and class should be considered to ensure that they flow hood is suitable for your workplace.