Research laboratories have to take numerous security measures because they often work with harmful chemicals and elements. Even the slightest carelessness in these security measures can lead to severe damage to the facility or its worker. Therefore an efficient exhaust system for the laboratory should be present in every research laboratory.
What is an exhaust system?
An exhaust system is responsible for maintaining a safe environment for laboratory workers by exhausting hazardous fumes and gases. The role of the exhaust system is even more significant in case of any mishappening like fire. Since the reliability of the laboratory and the safety of the works rely significantly on the exhaust system, you must understand the various aspects of setting up an exhaust system.
The exhaust prices vary from brand to brand, and there are many exhaust systems that you can find at an affordable price. Well, one of the brands that we would recommend for these exhausts is Valvetronic. The Valvetronic exhaust price is in an affordable range, so if you are planning to get the best exhaust system, it is a brand you must consider.
Importance in a research laboratory
The main importance of exhaust system in a research laboratory is keeping the laboratory hazardous-free. The chemicals in the air are removed continuously and replaced with fresh air.
This also reduces the risk of mishappenings like fire, chemical leakage, and more. Even if there is an accident, it ensures that the toxic fumes and gases do not leak and make the situation worse. So, overall, it is essential to have an exhaust system in the research laboratory.
Optimum fume hood performance
An exhaust system comprises a fume hood, a box-like structure with exhaust ducts, and a blower. The function of the blower is to pull the air of the laboratory into the box. This pull creates an airflow in the room, allowing the contaminated air to move out and fresh air to move in.
The velocity with which the contaminated air is moved out is termed the face velocity. Its measurement in feet per minute is very significant. One has to make sure that the face velocity is neither too fast nor too slow because in either case, the contaminated air will leak through the hoods and enter the rooms.
Hood exhaust design criteria
The design of the fume hood depends on certain factors. When selecting a fume hood, you have to check its size, heat load, and materials.
There are two varieties of hoods, namely, Constant Volume Hoods (CVH) and Variable Air Volume fume hoods (VAV). The CVH uses a bypass to allow a constant air balance between the exhaust and ventilation system. When the bypass is a hundred percent, a fixed volume of air is passed through the hood irrespective of the sash location.
The VAV, on the other hand, keeps the face velocity unchanged by changing the exhaust volumes when the sash position is changed. Although this feature reduces operating costs, a VAV is more expensive than a CVH and requires more maintenance.
Lab design basic for chemical fume hoods
The arrangement of the laboratory and the position of the fume hood significantly affect the performance of the hood. It is essential to ensure that the fume hood is not placed near heavy-traffic areas for three reasons. First, the heavy-traffic areas create air turbulence which may disrupt the normal functioning of the hood.
Second, placing fume hoods close to doors and exits may block them in case of fire or chemical leakage in the hood. Third, if the fume hood is present near workstations or other places, you risk the workers’ life in case of any mishappening.
Consequently, make sure that the fume hood is positioned where there is less traffic and no objects such as cabinet, workstation, other research laboratory equipment, etc., are blocking it to work ideally.
The next important part of the exhaust system is the exhaust duct. It is with these ducts that the contaminated air is carried outside the facilities. The thing here to ensure is that these ducts are solely dedicated to the fume hood only.
The exhaust piping should be made from non-combustible materials. Every element should be resistant to corrosive acids, fumes, and fire. The use of horizontal ducts should be minimized. The blowers should be fixed externally to keep the duct pressure negative. This will keep the contaminated air from entering the room during leakage.
The exhaust stacks are one of the most vital parts of the exhaust system. It must be around eight to twelve feet above the roof. The pile should be sturdy enough to withstand strong winds.
Airflow monitoring and Magnehelic gauge
When speaking of an exhaust system that aims at removing toxic air and providing fresh air, airflow monitoring becomes essential. It tells whether the exhaust system is working correctly or not and allows to make any required changes in the settings based on the amount of emission of toxic fumes, vapors etc.
The piece of equipment that can be used to monitor the airflow is the Magnehelic gauge. This gauge measures the air pressure in the exhaust system and not the face velocity. However, one can determine the change in the face velocity based on the changes in pressure.
Location of the workstation
The location of the workstation where workers spend the most time is an essential factor. A person walks at an average speed of two to three miles a day. This produces high turbulence and hence, leakage of contaminated air. Similar turbulence can be caused by air diffusers which are located right above the hood. Therefore, one should consider the location of the workstation and find an optimal position for the hood where it does not face any turbulence.
Noise management is another vital aspect of the exhaust system. A quieter exhaust system creates minor disturbance and better work surroundings. The mixed-flow impeller creates less noise and vibrations when compared to axial and centrifugal fan exhaust.
You can also get a mixed-flow impeller exhaust system that comes with built-in noise attenuators. In the case of axial and centrifugal fan exhaust, one can attach noise-reducing equipment. However, it increases the height and also requires additional mounting hardware.
Why is the exhaust system used at the Research Laboratory?
Research laboratories often work with harmful chemicals. These toxins also contaminate the air in the form of vapors and gases. It is essential to remove these toxins continuously. Otherwise, it may cause serious health problems. Exhaust systems are an efficient method to do so. They remove the toxified air and replace it with fresh air.
The above information is crucial to set up an exhaust system that can keep the laboratory healthy for the workers. The use of an exhaust system also helps in increasing the life of the facility. Therefore, proper setup holds high significance, and regular tests should be held. Also, you can easily find many affordable exhausts in the market that can give you excellent performance.