SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS: LABORATORY OVENS
03 August 2022
Commonly used in environmental labs, biotechnology facilities, pharmaceutical drug development, forensic labs, and raw material manufacturing plants, ovens are designed for general lab use or specialty applications, such as cGMP areas, ISO-rated cleanrooms, or fire-rated spaces.
Lab ovens are used to dry gently thaw frozen samples, cure composites, and prepare raw materials. They are composed of a heating element connected to a sample storage chamber and regulated by an analog or digital controller. While the internal storage chamber is commonly made from chemical-resistant, 204-grade stainless steel, the oven exterior is regularly made from corrosion-resistant, durable powder-coated steel.
TYPES OF OVENS
Gravity-Convection ovens, do not include a blower. They are economical alternatives to mechanical-drying or forced-air ovens. These are used primarily for general sample drying or material baking. They must be closely monitored to ensure that cold spots or stagnant air zones do not develop in corners of the internal chamber.
Mechanical ovens utilize a blower or fan to circulate air throughout the internal chamber. The boost in air change rat supports faster recovery times after the door is opened and better temperature uniformity across the sample storage area. Unlike gravity ovens, mechanical ovens are not prone to develop cold spots or stagnant air zones. However, mechanical ovens demonstrate lower temperature ramp rates and recovery times than forced air ovens.
FORCED AIR OVENS:
Forced air ovens utilize blowers located in a side-mount or rear mount plenum to circulate high-velocity air across the sample storage chamber. The high-powered fans increase the air change rate within the internal chamber, to protect sample batches from cross-contamination, and optimize the heat transmission between air and sample.
Vacuum ovens connect to an external vacuum pump to create a negative-pressure area within the sample storage chamber. An exhaust port vents moist and contaminated air away from the samples and through a filter for safe release. These ovens are commonly used for moisture determination, sample outgassing, desiccant regeneration, and hazardous sample processing.
- Compact Lab Ovens includes 1-3 cubic feet of sample storage space
- Standard-Capacity Lab Ovens commonly include 4-9 cubic feet of internal storage space.
- High-Capacity Ovens boast sample storage capacities up to 28 cubic feet
MAXIMUM LAB OVEN TEMPERATURES
- Standard Laboratory Ovens maintain temperatures ranging from ambient to 300 degrees Celsius.
- High-Temp Ovens utilize specialty heating elements and additional insultation to reach temps up to 400 degrees Celsius. As the capacity and size of the oven increases, the maximum achievable temperature decreases. The lab ovens intended use will define the required temperature range.
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