Published on : 29 November 20215 min reading time
The vast majority of people think that manufacturing products is a fairly simple task. On the contrary, because they must be protected from the various harmful particles present in the atmosphere. Thus, every producer is obliged to handle them under sterile conditions in order to avoid the risks of cross-contamination.

To do this, there are several solutions, but the most effective is undoubtedly the use of a laminar flow hood. What is it, how does it work and what are the elements to consider in order to choose it? We give you the answers in this article!

What is a laminar flow hood?

By definition, the laminar flow hood is a work surface that prevents the potential microbial infestation of biological samples. In reality, it is mainly used to inoculate a substrate or to prepare culture media in the laboratory. This tool is therefore essential for enclosures specialized in the handling of microorganisms or microbiological safety station. 

Note that the latter is also used by some companies for the recovery of data on hard disks. Indeed, when opening this device, any contact with particles, especially dust, could damage its surface. You can visit airgen-flux-laminaire.com if you want to get more information. Not only this website will offer you ranges for laboratories, but also for industries like the blower ceiling.

How does a laminar flow hood work?

The main objective of laminar flow hoods is to create a work space free of pathogenic or hazardous substances. In order to achieve this, they evacuate the ambient air in the unidirectional air flow through a filtration system. In other words, the air is sucked in by a turbine, passes through a HEPA filter and returns to the hood. Thus, the air that enters is sterile, i.e.: free of bacteria, yeast or spores. 

In most cases, the laminar flow hood is equipped with a UV-C lamp with germicidal effect. Be careful, because the light it produces is so powerful that it can cause cataracts or skin cancer. Also, always make sure that it is properly turned off when you are working with it.

Before using it, remember to properly sterilize your hands and all other instruments. This is a must, as it will prevent you from contaminating your cultures or samples. Whenever possible, avoid storing your items on the work surfaces in order to promote sterilization.

Horizontal or vertical laminar flow hood: which one to choose?

There are currently two main types of laminar flow hoods: horizontal and vertical. The horizontal laminar flow model, for example, gives the possibility to really evacuate the particles without turbulence. Here, the bottom of the hood is purely treated by the direction of the unidirectional air flow. This makes it more suitable for experiments in microbiological safety cabinets.

The vertical flow, on the other hand, will allow you to obtain the air quality you want on the surface of your enclosure. In other words, it has the particularity of being effective on the whole volume in its width, height and depth. Note however that with this type of model, you will not be protected from various turbulences.

In short, you should make your choice according to the positioning and characteristics of your samples. Handling a thin product, for example, requires a horizontal air flow. Otherwise, it is best to opt for the other type of hood in order to improve the evacuation of particles from the point of use as much as possible.

Some other details that are important when choosing a laminar flow hood

You should know that beyond selecting the type of laminar flow hood, you will need to consider other small details. Start by determining the definition of the enclosure or microbiological safety station that you are looking for. You will be able to find fume hoods of different sizes, including with a surface area of: 80 cm, 90 cm, 120 cm, 150 cm and 180 cm.

Next, consider the additional equipment you need. What type of worktop do you want? Are you planning to install a precision scale under your enclosure? Is a stand required for your laminar flow hood? Do you want to have a UV-C lamp for decontamination? Do you want to install a faucet inside it? In other words, make sure that the model you are considering can meet all your needs.

Finally, choose your laminar flow hood according to the layout of the room you are going to put it in. This last step is not really complicated since you just have to select according to your preferences. For example, you’ll need to study your building if you want an installation that can draw air from outside.