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Optimize Research Lab Safety with Proper Equipment Selection

Posted by Mike Baranski on May 22, 2018 9:29:38 AM
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Wet scrubber Systems and lab Fume Exhaust

Boston Scientific research lab facility on the Maple Grove campusLaboratories are becoming increasingly necessary as more and more products require the controlled conditions that only labs can provide. For the purposes of advanced manufacturing, every process from research, to testing, to development, to cleaning must be conducted with precision and accuracy.

Within these environments, lab fume hoods serve as an integral safety feature to help maintain facility air quality. While fume hoods are typically the first line of defense against hazardous vapors in these settings, they're by no means the only defense.

Depending on the substances that require venting, lab designers and lab managers must also be cognizant of what happens to the air after it passes through the fume hood.

Wet Scrubbers 

Wet scrubbers are a type of air cleansing apparatus used in highly corrosive applications. Scrubbers are designed to draw air under negative pressure from the fume source (in this case the lab fume hood), and into the scrubber unit to remove particles and gas compounds that are too harmful to be immediately released into the atmosphere.

Wet scrubbers pass a scrubbing liquid, typically water, through contaminated air-streams to collect the pollutants and allow only the clean air to pass through. This one pollution management system can remove both gas and aerosol particles (like dust or powder) from exhaust air.

Wet scrubber system diagram 3

The illustration to the right demonstrates the scrubbing fluid passing through the flue or exhaust gas within a scrubber unit. The unwanted gas compounds are collected by the falling scrubbing fluid and brought to the bottom of the chamber.

Here these compounds either oxidize or deposit as a solid and are removed from the system. The clean gas, separated from the exhaust gas, rises and exits the scrubber to then be released outside the facility.

Virtually any airborne substance which requires scrubbing is likely to be a lab safety concern for lab owners. If hazardous vapors, airborne chemicals, elements, and compounds are not reliably handled and transported between the fume hood and scrubbing unit, the safety and output of the entire facility can be compromised. 

This is why scrubbers draw exhaust air under negative pressure and at a specified velocity; to prevent leakage of pollutants as well as the formation of corrosive or harmful condensate within the vent duct system.

Exhaust Duct

PSP® corrosive fume exhaust duct systems provide unsurpassed protection against these lab safety concerns. PermaShield Pipe (PSP®) is developed with a proprietary fluoropolymer coating that is integrally bonded with the 300 series stainless steel duct substrate. This technology, combined with simple yet superior PTFE gasket joint systems creates the most durable, non-stick, leak-free, and impermeable fume exhaust duct available.

The bottom line is that PSP® is capable of carrying some of the most caustic chemical combinations from fume hood to wet scrubber without fear of leakage, corrosion, or degradation in performance. Conceivably, with PermaShield Pipe in place, exhaust air can be run at lower velocities, increasing the energy efficiency of your exhaust system and saving money while improving facility sustainability.

To Conclude

Within any laboratory, the proper combination of fume hoods, exhaust duct, and accompanying scrubber systems can dramatically increase the safety, cleanliness, performance, sustainability, and operating costs of the entire facility. With this in mind, it pays to merge thoughtful lab design with carefully researched support systems, construction materials, and infrastructure.

If you would like more information about PSP® coated duct in research lab applications, please feel free to download our case study below:

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Read More About PermaShield Fluoropolymer Coated Fume Exhaust Duct Here

Topics: vent duct, research lab safety

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