Types of Laminar Airflow Hoods and Their Advantages

  • A laminar flow hood is an essential tool for preventing particle pollution. When air moves at the same speed and in the same direction with zero to minimum air streams, it is known as laminar airflow. The laminar flow clean air workstations come in multiple laminar airflow hoods that serve different purposes and provide various advantages for your laboratory experiments.


    (Information source: https://www.rdm-ind.com/top-10-reasons-laboratories-need-laminar-airflow-hoods/ )


    Any laminar flow hood is best described as an enclosed bench that is designed to prevent any kind of contamination of various biological samples, semiconductor wafers or any kind of particle sensitive material. In the process, air is drawn through one HEPA filter. It is blown quite smoothly towards the user.


    Between the horizontal laminar flow and vertical laminar flow, there are various factors to consider such as clearance requirements, operator safety, work surface design and process location to choose the ideal variation that suits your requirement.


    A laminar flow workstation controls particulates that may contaminate your workplace and provides you with a sterile, dust-free work area. Laminar flow HEPA workstations are useful and vastly used in various sectors including medical, electronic, pharmaceutical and industries. A flow bench can be typically differentiated into two types according to their directional airflow properties.


    You need to choose the right type of laminar flow hood so that it provides you the best services as per requirements.


    Vertical Laminar Flow Hood

    This type of laminar flow bench provides vertical displacement airflow and is most preferred in many industries for its design and efficiency. It is important to have an efficient system for improved performance. Vertical laminar airflow hoods reinforce the gravitational effect on the particles and sweep out via a front access area. Thus it ensures that the particles end up on the floor which makes sure that you and your materials are safe from any contaminants. This type of hood is ideal for hazard level 2 and 3 although, for level 4, you might need a fully sealed bio-safety cabinet. These flow benches are also ideal if your workspace is limited as the hood can be installed on a standard laboratory workbench. 


    Vertical airflow cabinets ensure that the airflow doesn’t hit the user directly and provides a barrier in front of the operator’s face for extra safety. Using a vertical laminar airflow hood enables minimum cross-contamination of items and less turbulent effect from the air along with easier access to the filter on top.


    Horizontal Laminar Flow Hood

    This type of flow hoods directs the airflow towards the user from the cleanest air source i.e. the back of the hood. Horizontal laminar airflow hoods are particularly designed to protect the work rather than the user. It is necessary to keep the entire environment protected from contaminants or else it can lead to many other problems.


    If the area is not clean and protected it can result in difficulties at a later time. This can result in exposure      to contaminants that are not filtered out properly before reaching you. Thus this type of laminar airflow hoods is recommended to be used with only hazard level 2 and 3 materials. Using horizontal laminar airflow hoods ensure prevention against turbulence effects from vertical airflow and provide easier positioning of materials and equipment closer to the filter face.  



    Different laminar airflow hoods serve different purposes but some things you need to consider in both the cases such as running them at least 15 minutes before beginning any critical operation so that the particles can be purged from the enclosure and not use in presence of biohazards as they can be harmful to your work.