LABORATORIES – WHAT ARE GLOVE BOXES
26 April 2023
An essential tool for researchers and scientists working in fields such as chemistry, materials science and biotechnology, a glovebox is a sealed container that is designed to allow one to manipulate objects where a separate atmosphere is desired. They create a stable, sealed environment for handling hazardous materials, chemicals, or samples that react readily with air.
Glove boxes are completely closed compartments ranging in size from a few cubic feet to several hundred cubic feet and differ from other safety enclosures in two significant respects. Users can introduce articles into glove boxes and manipulate them inside through ports fitted with gloves, and glove boxes typically use a specialized atmosphere.
The interior of the glove box is filled with an inert gas, usually nitrogen, although it could be argon or helium if the materials used inside the box react with nitrogen. While the glove box environment is intended to be closed, small amounts of oxygen can seep through the glove ports, thus, it is essential that the glove box is purged nightly.
There are two (2) main types of laboratory glove boxes.
1. Isolation (inert) Gloves Boxes – Protect sensitive materials from the outside environment.
2. Containment Glove Boxes – Protect the user from infectious samples or radioactive materials.
Inert atmosphere isolation glove boxes create an environment that is completely isolated from the external atmosphere by filling the main chamber with an with an inert gas, usually nitrogen or argon. This is none as PURGING. Once the glove box has displaced all the air in the system with the inert gas, the main chamber is sealed, and the glove box maintains an overpressure to ensure that no gasses leak into the system.
A containment glove box is a specialized piece of equipment used in scientific and industrial settings for handling hazardous or sensitive materials. It consists of an enclosed chamber, typically made of transparent materials such as glass or acrylic, that is designed to provide a controlled environment with a low level of contamination.
Regular maintenance and inspections are essential to ensure that a glove box is adequately protecting the user, the environment and/or the product/process. Routine maintenance procedures and the frequency I inspection (or certification) should follow the manufacturers and regulatory recommendations.
As a leader in Scientific Equipment Repair and Medical Equipment Calibrations, Scientific Instrument Center works with many corporations, universities, and hospitals providing the highest level of laboratory services.
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