A fume hood is a device typically found in a laboratory that minimizes the risk of exposure to potentially harmful fumes. A fume hood can be a sealed enclosure covering a benchtop or part of the ventilation system for an entire room or building. A fume hood will help protect laboratory personnel from toxic gases and vapors. It will also significantly reduce fire risk by removing oxygen form explosive mixtures. In addition, it will prevent explosions by replacing air with non-oxygen-rich nitrogen gas when appropriate.
The fume hood will usually have a safety shield that covers the opening and the area around it to prevent the entry of dangerous particles into the area. The safety shield will often be located within the enclosure, but more oversized hoods may have a separate safety enclosure located outside of it. The safety shield will often be constructed of aluminum. This metal is inert and protects against chemical vapor toxicity while being light and robust enough to operate safely within a confined space.
Different Types Of Fume Hoods
A wide range of fume hoods is available to researchers depending on the size and use. The appropriate type of fume hood will depend upon the nature of the work being done, but in general, fume hoods can be categorized into two main groups based upon their method of operation. In addition, there are different types of fume hoods based on different user types. Some common examples of fume hoods for laboratories are shared here.
- Open Fume Hoods – These are laboratory Fume Hoods that operate using natural or forced convection by drawing air through an exposed opening into the lab space. These open fume hoods have many benefits, including low cost and low maintenance. Open fume hoods are best for dry chemicals with a low moisture content of dried chemicals where a certain amount of dust is expected to get in the air. These laboratory fume hoods can be found in most research laboratories, schools, and universities.
- Enclosed Fume Hoods – Laboratory fume hoods with an enclosed opening that runs inside a lab’s sealed wall or door. These enclosed fume hoods are used by researchers who work with dangerous chemicals such as oxidizers, acids, and bases. The tight seal around the opening prevents hazardous fumes from escaping into the rest of the room or lab space.
- Cylindrical Fume Hoods – Laboratory fume hoods contain a cylindrical shape that can be mounted in different positions inside a lab to meet a researcher’s fit-up needs. They are also used for a wide range of different applications, from medical to chemical. These fume hoods have a slant at the bottom to encourage the free flow of air and do not require a fan.
What Are The Uses Of Fume Hoods In the Laboratory?
A fume hood is used to help protect the researcher from harmful chemicals emitted from reactions or chemical processes. It helps prevent the spread of dangerous fumes and will usually include a safety shield or enclosure for additional precaution. Fume hoods are also used in hospitals and other medical facilities to help with decontamination procedures. In addition, they are sometimes used in clean laboratories due to their ability to separate hazardous chemicals from non-hazardous ones.
In addition, these Fume Hoods help reduce the risk of fire by removing oxygen from flammable mixtures and will prevent explosions by replacing air with non-oxygen-rich nitrogen gas when appropriate. Fume hoods are used to separate flammable gases from non-combustible ones in the food manufacturing industry.
How Fume Hoods Offer Better Safety Resolutions For Lab?
They are usually fitted with an alarm system, which is usually voice-operated or a unique sound that can be heard outside the lab space. The alarm will alert the researcher that a hazardous gas is being released into the air, which will keep all personnel in the lab space safely away from exposure until it can be determined what is being released and what type of symptoms to expect from exposure. Therefore, this alarm system is a significant safety feature of the fume hoods, alerting the lab personnel and avoiding further exposure to harmful chemicals.
The best advantage that a fume hood can offer to the lab is reducing the risk of fire by removing oxygen from flammable mixtures and preventing explosions by replacing air with non-oxygen-rich nitrogen gas when appropriate. Fume hoods are also used to separate flammable gases from non-combustible ones in the food manufacturing industry. This will be especially useful for oxygen or acetylene, as you may need when using a blowtorch on your workbench.