Understanding Glove Box Air Flow

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Air Circulation is a critical aspect affecting the level of containment or sterility of leaktight closed systems like isolators. Depending on the specific application, isolators can be designed to work with negative pressure (usually for containment) or positive pressure (usually for asepsis). Upon customer’s request the isolators can be constructed to be used with UNIDIRECTIONAL AIRFLOW (also called LAMINAR) or TURBOLENT AIRFLOW.

air flow diagram

Human interaction with the process is usually necessary. In aspetic manufacturing, people are considered to be the largest source of contamination. In manfacturing of potentially hazardous products or APIs the operator has to be protected. One of the key operational features to create a barrier system is to set up proper ventilation and filtration.

Air input may be Unidirectional Flow or Turbulent Flow (in some case the air is recirculated from the surrounding environment through HEPA filters) with the aim to reach a sufficient air change rate to keep the required internal working paramenters during usage. Air flow rate can be monitored with analog guages or digital indicators and connected to alarm systems.

Unidirectional Flow (also called Laminar Flow)

With Laminar Flow the whole body of air moves with uniform velocity in parallel flow lines whether vertically or horizontally.

Features

  • 0.45 m/s ±20% air speed
  • Fastest ambient class recovery time
  • Excellent with powder (in that case a top-down flow must be adopted)
  • The huge amount of air to be handled must be taken into consideration

Turbulent flow

Tubulent Flow is non unidirectional air flow.

Features

  • 20 – 40 air changes per hour
  • Higher “ambient class” recovery time than with the Unidirectional Flow, due to the lowest volume of air used
  • Excellent for transportable or small size Isolators
  • Excellent when an inert gas (Nitrogen, Argon…) must be used in alternative to the normal Air
  • Some areas can remain dirty (non reached by the air flow)

For further details regarding Comecer air flow filtration technologies download our Air Filtration pdf.

Related arguments:

https://www.comecer.com/isolation/technical-details/

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