In my visit to a few old chemical or pharma research labs, I found that the furniture and fume hoods are corroded. When this was discussed with users & engineering team, almost all of them pointed out towards the poor quality of lab furniture. Whether Indian or imported, premium or standard brand, the quality matter is always in question.

However, very few try to dig deeper. There are many possible reasons, the manufacturer’s quality being only one of those. We will try to understand a few main reasons for this corrosion.

 Reason 1: ‘Poor ventilation design’

Chemical labs must be under negative pressure. Many labs do not have a proper balance of supply and exhaust air. It can be because of improper fume hood exhaust volume calculations, wrong diversity factor, improper VAV system commissioning. Sometimes, the return air system is used in the chemistry labs, heat recovery wheels are installed for hoods or VAV controls have a very slow response time. This all leads to the accumulation of chemical fumes in labs, which attack the metal.

A few years back while commissioning of a research lab with nearly 100 hoods, we found that most labs are designed to be under positive pressure. When we raised this issue with Project Manager & HVAC vendor, they tried to justify their design. When we tried to explain the codes and practices, the vendor never agreed. He insisted that labs must always to be kept under positive pressure. In fact, he has been doing this for the last 30 years. He was a long time vendor for the client and had executed HVAC piece for their several R&D labs. No wonder, their all old labs had serious contamination issues.

Now in such cases, if labs are under positive pressure, rest assured that your all lab furniture and equipment will eventually corrode. It is just a matter of time. If this fume exposure can corrode the metal; one can simply imagine how unsafe it is for a researcher.

Say no to unsafe labs!

#labdesign #fumehood #labfurniture #labsafety #saynotounsafelabs

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