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Let the Air Flow: A Fume Hood Specifications Guide

Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:36am
Lindsay Hock

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Fume hoods are a requirement when working with potentially hazardous chemicals or compounds. Vendors are expanding their options to address all safety and efficiency needs.

Regulation of air flow is one of the most important factors for a safe and energy-efficient laboratory. Fume hoods are a sticking point to the air management formula; these interior workspace ventilation devices must be designed and operated to limit a user’s exposure to hazardous fumes, vapors, or dusts that may disrupt the clean air in a given work environment.

For most of their history, fume hoods were rudimentary enclosures tied to a fixed-air volume air-handling system, driven by large intake and exhaust fan assemblies.

Today’s hoods tend to be more flexible in design, more energy-efficient, and benefit from more sophisticated air management systems. The first exhaust option was auxiliary air, which brought non-conditioned outside air directly in front of the hood and exhausted it outside. Constant air volume (CV) is a refinement; the supply air flow passes through a bypass opening from above the sash of the hood at a constant rate. These systems are easy to implement, but cannot accommodate for changes in cooling and air flow rates within laboratories. Variable air volume (VAV) units use sash position sensors to alert the HVAC system, which can then reduce or increase the fan speed based on demand. This approach has the advantage of reduced electrical consumption.

Standard fume hood types include benchtop, conventional, ductless, radioisotope, perchloric, and acid-resistant models.

Companies represented in the online version of R&D Magazine's Fume Hood Specifications Guide include:

Click here to view a PDF version of the Fume Hood Specifications Guide as seen in the October issue of R&D Magazine.

Published in R & D magazine: Vol. 52, No. 6, October, 2010

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