Air Apparent: A Breezy Guide to Cleanroom Basics
A cleanroom is a controlled environment that is designed to minimize the presence of airborne particles, dust, contaminants, and other pollutants. They are commonly used in industries such as pharmaceuticals, electronics, biotechnology, aerospace, and semiconductor manufacturing, where the presence of even small particles can have a significant impact on the quality and performance of products. They enable strict control over factors such as airborne particle concentration, temperature, humidity, air pressure, and air flow patterns. The goal is to maintain a highly clean and stable environment to meet specific cleanliness standards.
Cleanrooms have advanced air handling systems that filter and recirculate the air to trap and remove particles as small as 0.3 microns. They are maintained at a higher air pressure compared to surrounding areas. This helps prevent the entry of contaminants from outside. They often have strict control over temperature and humidity levels to ensure stability and prevent condensation or other moisture-related issues. They are classified into different levels based on the permissible particle count per cubic meter of air. The classification system typically ranges from ISO Class 1 (the cleanest) to ISO Class 9 (relatively less clean). The required cleanliness level depends on the specific industry and application.
What are the Cleanroom Classifications and how are they determined?
Current classifications are defined by The International Organization for Standardization (ISO). More specifically, ISO 14644-1:2015 specifies the classification of air cleanliness in terms of concentration of airborne particles in cleanrooms and clean zones; and separative devices as defined in ISO 14644‑7. ISO states that cleanrooms must not exceed a certain particulate count, measured in cubic meters. The amount stipulated for each application depends on the class of air cleanliness required.
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