A free-standing fume hood
A fume hood is typically a large piece of equipment enclosing five sides of a work area, the bottom of which is most commonly located at a standing work height.
Two main types exist, ducted and recirculating (ductless). The principle is the same for both types: air is drawn in from the front (open) side of the cabinet, and either expelled outside the building or made safe through filtration and fed back into the room. This is used to:
protect the user from inhaling toxic gases (fume hoods, biosafety cabinets, glove boxes)
protect the product or experiment (biosafety cabinets, glove boxes)
protect the environment (recirculating fume hoods, certain biosafety cabinets, and any other type when fitted with appropriate filters in the exhaust airstream)
Secondary functions of these devices may include explosion protection, spill containment, and other functions necessary to the work being done within the device.
Fume hoods are generally set back against the walls and are often fitted with infills above, to cover up the exhaust ductwork. Because of their recessed shape they are generally poorly illuminated by general room lighting, so many have internal lights with vapor-proof covers. The front is a sash window, usually in glass, able to move up and down on a counterbalance mechanism. On educational versions, the sides and sometimes the back of the unit are also glass, so that several pupils can look into a fume hood at once. Low air flow alarm control panels are common, see below.
Fume hoods are generally available in 5 different widths; 1000 mm, 1200 mm, 1500 mm, 1800 mm and 2000 mm. The depth varies between 700 mm and 900 mm, and the height between 1900 mm and 2700 mm. These designs can accommodate from one to three operators.
For exceptionally hazardous materials, an enclosed glovebox may be used, which completely isolates the operator from all direct physical contact with the work material and tools. The enclosure may also be maintained at negative air pressure to ensure that nothing can escape via minute air leaks.
Phenolic resin (for general applications)
Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP)
Polypropylene (the best material for the majority of applications)
Square-corner stainless steel (for durability and heat resistance)
Coved-corner stainless steel (easier to decontaminate, for radiochemical and biohazard applications)
Cement board (for rough usage)
Most fume hoods are fitted with a mains-powered control panel. Typically, they perform one or more of the following functions:
Warn of low air flow
Warn of too large an opening at the front of the unit (a "high sash" alarm is caused by the sliding glass at the front of the unit being raised higher than is considered safe, due to the resulting air velocity drop)
Allow switching the exhaust fan on or off
Allow turning an internal light on or off
Specific extra functions can be added, for example, a switch to turn a waterwash system on or off.
Ducted fume hoods.
A common ducted fume hood
Most fume hoods for industrial purposes are ducted. A large variety of ducted fume hoods exist. In most designs, conditioned (i.e. heated or cooled) air is drawn from the lab space into the fume hood and then dispersed via ducts into the outside atmosphere.
The fume hood is only one part of the lab ventilation system. Because recirculation of lab air to the rest of the facility is not permitted, air handling units serving the non-laboratory areas are kept segregated from the laboratory units. To improve indoor air quality, some laboratories also utilize single-pass air handling systems, wherein air that is heated or cooled is used only once prior to discharge. Many laboratories continue to use return air systems to the laboratory areas to minimize energy and running costs, while still providing adequate ventilation rates for acceptable working conditions. The fume hoods serve to evacuate hazardous levels of contaminant.
To reduce lab ventilation energy costs, variable air volume (VAV) systems are employed, which reduce the volume of the air exhausted as the fume hood sash is closed. This product is often enhanced by an automatic sash closing device, which will close the fume hood sash when the user leaves the fume hood face. The result is that the hoods are operating at the minimum exhaust volume whenever no one is actually working in front of them.
Since the typical fume hood in US climates uses 3.5 times as much energy as a home, the reduction or minimization of exhaust volume is strategic in reducing facility energy costs as well as minimizing the impact on the facility infrastructure and the environment. Particular attention must be paid to the exhaust discharge location, to reduce risks to public safety, and to avoid drawing exhaust air back into the building air supply system.
This method is outdated technology. The premise was to bring non-conditioned outside air directly in front of the hood so that this was the air exhausted to the outside. This method does not work well when the climate changes as it pours frigid or hot and humid air over the user making it very uncomfortable to work or affecting the procedure inside the hood. This system also uses additional ductwork which can be costly.
Constant air volume (CAV)
In a survey of 247 lab professionals conducted in 2010, Lab Manager Magazine found that approximately 43% of fume hoods are conventional CAV fume hoods.
A conventional (non-bypass) constant-air-volume fume hood
Closing the sash on a non-bybass CAV hood will increase face velocity (“pull"), which is a function of the total volume divided by the area of the sash opening. Thus, a conventional hood’s performance (from a safety perspective) depends primarily on sash position, with safety increasing as the hood is drawn closed. To address this issue, many conventional CAV hoods specify a maximum height that the fume hood can be open in order to maintain safe airflow levels.
A major drawback of conventional CAV hoods is that when the sash is closed, velocities can increase to the point where they disturb instrumentation and delicate apparatuses, cool hot plates, slow reactions, and/or create turbulence that can force contaminants into the room.
A bypass fume hood. The grille for the bypass chamber is visible at the top.
Bypass CAV hoods (which are sometimes also referred to as conventional hoods) were developed to overcome the high velocity issues that affect conventional fume hoods. These hood allows air to be pulled through a "bypass" opening from above as the sash closes. The bypass is located so that as the user closes the sash, the bypass opening gets larger. The air going through the hood maintains a constant volume no matter where the sash is positioned and without changing fan speeds. As a result, the energy consumed by CAV fume hoods (or rather, the energy consumed by the building HVAC system and the energy consumed by the hood's exhaust fan) remains constant, or near constant, regardless of sash position.
Low flow/high performance bypass CAV
"High-performance" or "low-flow" bypass CAV hoods are the newest type of bypass CAV hoods and typically display improved containment, safety, and energy conservation features. Low-flow/high performance CAV hoods generally have one or more of the following features: sash stops or horizontal-sliding sashes to limit the openings; sash position and airflow sensors that can control mechanical baffles; small fans to create an air-curtain barrier in the operator’s breathing zone; refined aerodynamic designs and variable dual-baffle systems to maintain laminar (undisturbed, nonturbulent) flow through the hood. Although the initial cost of a high-performance hood is typically more than that of a conventional bypass hood, the improved containment and flow characteristics allow these hoods to operate at a face velocity as low as 60 fpm, which can translate into $2,000 per year or more in energy savings, depending on hood size and sash settings.
Reduced air volume (RAV)
Reduced air volume hoods (a variation of low-flow/high performance hoods) incorporate a bypass block to partially close off the bypass, reducing the air volume and thus conserving energy. Usually, the block is combined with a sash stop to limit the height of the sash opening, ensuring a safe face velocity during normal operation while lowering the hood’s air volume. By reducing the air volume, the RAV hood can operate with a smaller blower, which is another cost-saving advantage.
Since RAV hoods have restricted sash movement and reduced air volume, these hoods are less flexible in what they can be used for and can only be used for certain tasks. Another drawback to RAV hoods is that users can in theory override or disengage the sash stop. If this occurs, the face velocity could drop to an unsafe level. To counter this condition, operators must be trained never to override the sash stop while in use, and only to do so when loading or cleaning the hood.
Variable air volume (VAV)
A variable airflow (constant-velocity) fume hood, with a visible flow sensor
VAV hoods, the newest generations of laboratory fume hoods, vary the volume of room air exhausted while maintaining the face velocity at a set level. Different VAV hoods change the exhaust volume using different methods, such as a damper or valve in the exhaust duct that opens and closes based on sash position, or a blower that changes speed to meet air-volume demands. Most VAV hoods integrate a modified bypass-block system that ensures adequate airflow at all sash positions. VAV hoods are connected electronically to the laboratory building’s HVAC, so hood exhaust and room supply are balanced. In addition, VAV hoods feature monitors and/or alarms that warn the operator of unsafe hood-airflow conditions.
Although VAV hoods are much more complex than traditional constant-volume hoods, and correspondingly have higher initial costs, they can provide considerable energy savings by reducing the total volume of conditioned air exhausted from the laboratory. Since most hoods are operated the entire time a laboratory is open, this can quickly add up to significant cost savings. These savings are, however, completely contingent on user behavior: the less the hoods are open (both in terms of height and in terms of time), the greater the energy savings. For example, if the laboratory's ventilation system uses 100% once-through outside air and the value of conditioned air is assumed to be $7 per CFM per year (this value would increase with very hot, cold or humid climates), a 6-foot VAV fume hood at full open for experiment set up 10% of the time (2.4 hours per day), at 18 inch working opening 25% of the time (6 hours per day), and completely closed 65% of the time (15.6 hours per day) would save approximately $6,000 every year compared to a hood that is fully open 100% of the time
Potential behavioral savings from VAV fume hoods are highest when fume hood density (number of fume hoods per square foot of lab space) is high. This is because fume hoods contribute to the achievement of lab spaces' required air exchange rates. Put another way, savings from closing fume hoods can only be achieved when fume hood exhaust rates are greater than the air exchange rate needed to achieve the required ventilation rate in the lab room. For example, in a lab room with a required air exchange rate of 2000 cubic feet per minute (CFM), if that room has just one fume hood which vents air at a rate of 1000 square feet per minute, then closing the sash on the fume hood will simply cause the lab room's air handler to increase from 1000 CFM to 2000 CFM, thus resulting in no net reduction in air exhaust rates, and thus no net reduction in energy consumption.
In a survey of 247 lab professionals conducted in 2010, Lab Manager Magazine found that approximately 12% of fume hoods are VAV fume hoods.
There are two widely used and quite different fume hood containment tests. They are ASHRAE 110-2016 and EN17145 Part 3.
The D-Industrial SF6 Tracer Gas Leak Detector Q200 can meet the both standard.
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