Glove Box Under Controlled Atmosphere
Glove boxes are technical equipment that allows the handling of products or substances under a controlled atmosphere. Its use is one of the conditions to be followed when handling elements that are very sensitive to the ambient air, dangerous or toxic for workers and the environment.
Design of a Glove Box
The glove box is a closed and watertight protective enclosure with a stainless-steel structure and transparent sides. It allows the creation of a specific atmosphere for the smooth running of risky gestures or highly sensitive processes. The process is confined to avoid sources of external contamination and prevent contamination of the operator and the environment.
In order to have access to the protected area, the glove box has handling gloves directly attached to its sides. The operator can introduce the products/substances to be protected as well as the instrumentation necessary for handling via sophisticated transfer systems. Thus, the containment does not break throughout the process. The pressure, hygrometry and other climatic conditions of the glove box are also adjustable, hence the controlled atmosphere. This device is therefore suitable for the containment of hazardous substances, but also for applications requiring an ultra-pure inert atmosphere.
Because of its performance, glove boxes are used in high-tech industries, aeronautics, nuclear power, pharmaceutical-medical, research and development, etc. Moreover, glove boxes systematically integrate safety devices that are automatically triggered in case of (micro)leaks or accidents.
Different Types of Glove Boxes
Compared to protective devices such as laboratory fume hoods, the controlled-atmosphere glove box offers optimal protection. Two types of glove boxes can be distinguished according to the elements used:
To handle pathogens, radioactive materials and equipment, toxic or allergenic products, carcinogenic substances, etc., a glove box for the containment of hazardous substances is used. It incorporates specific filters to trap toxic or hazardous elements and operates in depression to contain contaminants in the protected area. Its role is to prevent the risks of propagation in order to protect workers and the environment.
Products requiring an inert atmosphere or vacuum
To handle sensitive products, especially oxidizable or pyrophoric (sensitive to ambient conditions) and hygroscopic (absorbing moisture from the air) products, the glove box for inert atmosphere containment is used. Its atmosphere is inert and extremely pure. A purification system under argon or nitrogen eliminates humidity, oxygen and all traces of solvents to create such conditions. With this type of glove box, the environment can also be put under vacuum.
Standard glove boxes can be found for the most common operations in laboratories, industries, nuclear, aeronautics, etc., but manufacturers also offer modular and custom-made glove boxes if the process presents additional or specific constraints.
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