Chemical Glove Boxes: Why are they needed?
A chemical glove box is a piece of equipment offering an important level of safety to protect the environment, the operator and the chemical products and the substances handled. This device is a hermetically sealed enclosure allowing users to work safely on sensitive or dangerous samples in the ambient air. This is possible with the help of gloves firmly attached to the walls of the glove box. Any form of internal and external contamination is thus prevented while the environment within the enclosure is controlled to avoid chemical reactions and simplify handling.
Operators can safely perform their tasks since the glove box enclosure is fully protective. The pressure level inside the enclosure can be lower or higher than the atmospheric pressure, depending on the conditions required by the product which is beinghandled. This may include chemical, toxic or volatile substances, air sensitive materials, active ingredients, etc.
Components of a Glove Box
The chemical glove box has a main chamber that constitutes the operator’s working area. Manipulations can only be done inside this hermetic enclosure and the glove box can have several working faces which allow for better visualization of the manipulations. The operator’s comfort is ensured during handling thanks to the transparency of these walls.
The equipment is also equipped with protective gloves fixed on the working side with support rings. The gloves offer the operators increased personal protection during the application of a product.
For the introduction of instruments and products into the main chamber, one or more transfer locks must be integrated into the glove box. This sophisticated system eliminates any risk of containment failure. Some glove boxes also come equipped with an inlet and an outlet airlock to guarantee safety and avoid contamination.
Various types of materials and substances can be used for a specific project. Thus, the chemical composition of the atmosphere of the enclosure can vary depending on the conditions required by the manipulations. The glove box is equipped with regulators to adjust the temperature, pressure, etc. The sensors in the glove box also allow the oxygen and humidity levels to be checked.
A chemical glove box has additional specific equipment such as a precision balance or a -35°C freezer for temperature-reactive products. For products that react dangerously to the atmosphere, it is possible to provide safety devices with alarms that trigger special processes in the event of accidental pollution, thus ensuring optimal safety of the glove box.