Laminar Flow Hoods
01 June 2017

Laminar Flow Hoods

Laminar flow hoods are essential equipment when working with delicate or hazardous materials, such as biological cells or unstable chemicals. Choosing the right laminar flow hood allows scientific researchers to work safely and effectively in the laboratory. Educate yourself about the features of laminar flow hoods so you can choose the right equipment for your laboratory or clean room.

What Is a Laminar Flow Hood?
A laminar flow hood is a device that circulates and filters air inside a partially enclosed work area to protect both the workers and the samples they are working with from contamination. The hood contains a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter that removes 99.7 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns from the air. The filtered air is circulated around the unit under high pressure to keep dust away from the experimental area.

Types of Laminar Flow Hoods
There are two main types of laminar flow hoods: horizontal flow and vertical flow.

Horizontal Laminar Flow Hoods

Vertical Laminar Flow Hoods
Vertical laminar flow hoods are more costly than horizontal flow hoods, but they're essential when working with hazardous materials, such as radioactive substances or chemicals that produce toxic gases. In a vertical laminar flow hood, the HEPA filter is located above the bench and blows filtered air down onto the work area. This air flows through gaps in the bottom and back of the cabinet and is circulated back to the filter, where particles are removed. This kind of exhaust hood reduces the risk of workers breathing in harmful vapors, helping to keep the laboratory a safe place to work.

How to Use Laminar Flow Hoods
Laminar flow hoods only prevent contamination if you use them correctly. If too many objects are placed in the work area, they disrupt air flow, preventing the hood from effectively circulating and cleaning the air. Therefore, it's very important to keep the work area tidy and free from clutter.

If you don't have enough laminar flow hoods in your laboratory, or if the hoods you do have aren't big enough, the work areas inside the hoods can become cluttered with scientific equipment, such as beakers, pipettes and flasks. Ensure that your workers have all the space they need to carry out their work.

Workplace training is also vital. Researchers and technicians working in your laboratory must understand how a laminar flow hood functions and how to use it properly. This basic training can prevent contamination, helping your experiments and scientific processes to go smoothly.

Custom Laminar Flow Hoods
Every laboratory is unique, which means that standard-sized hoods may not fit easily into your space. In this case, custom-built laminar flow hoods could allow you to make the most efficient use of your space.