In a laboratory, a fume hood is a structure that is designed to keep out fumes and smells from substances being used in the lab. A typical fume hood will have a front door with a seal where you can enter the lab, and when closing this door, when done with the lab, it seals off any contaminants from coming back into the lab. This same Laboratory Fume Hoods structure is used in almost every fume hood in the market. With proper knowledge about the working and structural components of your hood, you can better understand how to use it safely and why it is a crucial part of your laboratory.
Basic Structure Of Lab Fume Hoods
The basic structure of a fume hood is very similar in most cases. They have many components. Consider all of them together as a lab fume hood, and you will find there are four essential parts to it. These parts are the door, filter, exposed surface where the exhaust fan sucks in the air (usually located on the roof), and the exhaust fan itself, usually located just below the roof.
Components Of A Lab Fume Hood
A lab fume hood usually consists of one or more of these four essential components. These four components collectively work to filter out all the toxins from the air inside your laboratory. A few of these are detailed here.
The door to the lab fume hood is the first principal component. It is often made of heavy steel and has a seal to keep all the air inside. In addition, this door usually has a sealed trap to ensure there’s no air leaking from the outside into the lab.
A second component is usually some filter. For example, an electric motor-powered fan with either a metal mesh screen or a solid metal screen pull down onto it. The interior of this filter will be some material (usual fiberglass) that pulls in fumes from certain materials like volatile organic compounds that you would use in your experiments.
3. Plastic Sheeting
The third component is usually plastic sheeting, which covers most windows and doors for better insulation and handling purposes. This sheeting provides a better look and protection to the sensitive internal components of your Fume Hood. It is the part used to cover all your fume hood’s basic structure and core.
4. Exhaust Fan
The last component is the actual exhaust fan which is usually mounted on the ceiling of the lab fume hood and sucks in air from outside into the lab. Again, ensure it’s properly installed and in good working order; otherwise, it will not work correctly.
How Does A Fume Hood Work?
Quite simply, when you have a toxic or flammable gas (one that gives off fumes when burnt), you don’t want to let it enter your laboratory because it might cause bodily harm or damage your experiments. This is where a fume hood comes into play. A lab fume hood keeps all the toxins away from your laboratory, thus protecting your laboratory and its contents from harm. So when you want to use some chemicals that might be toxic or flammable inside your laboratory, they’ll be pumped in through a hose and pumped into the fume hood. Once in the lab, it is kept inside the lab, and all fumes are kept inside the room until you’re done with them.
Role Of Filters In Fume Hood
The filter at the top of the Laboratory Fume Hoods is connected to a hose, allowing this air to be pulled through and filtered. The most common filters used are sand traps, activated carbon filters, and charcoal filters. A sand trap is made by repetitively cleaning the filter inside with sand. The activated carbon filters are made using a carbon-based substance to absorb certain chemicals that have been spilled on the filter or by absorbing only specific gases. Finally, the charcoal filter is made using microscopic pores, so it can filter out certain chemicals but allows other gases through.
Installing a fume hood is crucial as it ensures that all toxic and harmful gases released through the chemicals are accounted for and eliminated. You can ensure your safety as well as a sound workplace by getting a fume hood exhaust system.