The term laminar air flow cabinet is a generalised phrase which covers a whole range of devices characterised by the laminar nature of the airflow passing through them. The non-specific nature of the terminology can be very confusing for the user. For example, does the hood depend on vertical or horizontal laminar flow? Does the filter protect the product, the user, the environment or all three? These are important points to consider, especially if you are handling hazardous substances.
We at Contained Air Solutions Ltd can supply a laminar air flow cabinet as either a vertical or horizontal laminar flow option. However, it’s important to remember that horizontal flow cabinets are inappropriate for the handling of any material which is, or may potentially be, a biohazard. This includes human and animal clinical specimens, blood samples, bacterial cultures, and potential sources of allergens such as lab animals. This is because the front of the cabinet is an open area (unlike vertical cabinets, which have a sliding sash), offering no protection to the user or environment. A vertical laminar air flow cabinet offers a little more protection, although not as much as a class 2 biohazard booth, which should always be used where there is a danger of exposure to hazardous materials.
What a horizontal laminar flow hood does extremely well is to protect the cabinet contents from contamination. This is also true of a vertical flow model. However, the horizontal flow cabinet has a number of other advantages, which makes it more useful in certain situations. For example, the clean bench is generally taller, with a larger working area, allowing for easy insertion of bulky instruments such as microscopes. The horizontal laminar air flow cabinet is also more accessible for the user. This makes it the preferred solution for botanical tissue culture, assembly of electronics equipment, preparation of media plates and other non-hazardous tasks requiring a clean air environment.
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