Sunday, February 13, 2011
Lab Equipment for Clean Rooms and Critical Environment
There are some facets of medicine, industry and scientific research where there is a need for an environment as completely free as possible of any outside pollutants or substances that could bring in unwanted factors or variables to whatever procedure is being investigated, developed or operated on. For this purpose, laboratories with critical environments called 'clean rooms' have been developed. There are a huge variety of types of facilities and apparatus and clothing designed and available for a very wide range of research and control laboratories. Cole-Parmer stocks the equipment you need for a clean room as well as all the usual laboratory equipment and all the glassware you require. A clean room's level of contamination has to be a controlled one, with a specified level of contamination, which is the number of particles per cubic meter. For instance, the air in a typical urban street contains approximately 35,000,000 particles per cubic meter. An ISO 1 clean room may have no particles at all of a size above 0.5 microns, and only 12 particles per cubic meter or smaller than that. The critical environments developed may be as large as a whole huge factory premises manufacturing sensitive foods or materials, biotechnology, electronic technology, medicines, or they can be as small as a pre-term baby's incubator. Obviously, the degree of sterility will vary greatly. Some 'clean rooms' may be moderate, such as an ICU hospital ward where all instruments and equipment is sterilized but protective clothing may be limited to a face mask and sterile gloves. In an operating theater, sterile gowns, foot and head coverings are usually added. The room is generally isolated from entrance by anyone who is not involved in the actual surgery or medical procedure. In very critical environments, more sophisticated clothing is sometimes worn, even to the extent of helmets and separate breathing apparatus. Cole-parmer have a range of protective clothing, pro-clean overalls, gloves, head and foot covers, and masks to prevent contamination. Everything inside the clean room is sterilized and/or decontaminated. Even cleaning materials and tools are specialized for use inside the controlled environment, and kept sterile. Cole-Parmer supply all the necessary specialized cleaning agents, mops and brushes you need. Airflow, filtration, air pressure, humidity and temperature are generally also controlled. The entrances and exits are where the highest precautions are normally taken, with a 'gray room' where clothing is changed before entering a vacuum chamber, air lock, or air shower, where even the sterile clothing is decontaminated before entrance into the clean room itself. Cole-Parmer provide extremely useful layered adhesive-coated mats that capture dirt and dust so you don't track it into the clean room. When the top layer is dirty, you peel that layer off to expose a fresh surface underneath. As you can see, there is a whole industry devoted to the production of conditions for sterility and decontamination, ranging from architecture, building and engineering, to protective clothing manufacture, as well as machinery, apparatus, tools and equipment. You will find most of the apparatus and equipment you need at Cole-Parmer specialists.