Provided that you have sufficient air exchange in your
laboratory, you have several options to reduce costs. It is very nice to have
everything PVC but, as you say, this is expensive. Sealed PVC floors are great,
especially if there is a potential to leak into somebody's space on a lower
level. Make sure the drain points really are at the lowest point in your lab. I
have now been in three labs and in every case the builders managed to place some
drains above the lowest point and leaks and spills WILL occur.
If there are sufficient air exchanges, it is not necessary
to use PVC ceiling grids. Near standard epoxy powder coated (done with a
standard hot coating process) is fine for the grids. All exposed
screws should obviously be painted (with polyurethane, see below). The main
area in which you could save costs is by painting the walls. All paint in a lab
with an acid atmosphere should be polyurethane (use the twin-pack, catalysed
versions). Many paint company sales representatives will try to tell you that
epoxy paint will do the job equally well but this is not so. Epoxy paints are
better for alkaline atmospheres whereas polyurethane is better for acid
atmospheres. My father was on technical director for a paint manufacturer so I
got this information from somebody who spent much of his career in the lab. A
neighbouring isotope lab had epoxy on their walls whereas ours was polyurethane.
Their walls, initially painted white, were a dull mustard within 2 years whereas
ours were still shiny, white after 8 years.
One of the biggest expenses for a clean lab is the air
supply, especially the air filtration system. It is very nice to have all air
entering the lab pass through HEPA filters after appropriate primary and
secondary filtration but one can save by accepting a lower quality input and
then making sure that the air in each laminar-flow workstation really is Class
100, using HEPA filters dedicated to each workstation. In this case, there are
various high-efficiency filters which provide 95% to 99.5% particulate removal
(HEPA is 99.97%) but with more air flow, so reducing the cost of the system.
Bear in mind the cost of replacing HEPA filters, which may be necessary if
primary and secondary filtration is not good enough. HEPA filters are very
expensive to replace, far more so than the less efficient filters. Also, plan to
test the particulate counts and to do DOP tests of each filtration system on a
regular basis so that you know that everything works as it should.
Rather use money on the essential things, like really
well-designed laminar-flow workstations with built-in drying cubicles and save
in other areas.
Hope this helps.
Dr Bruce Eglington
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E2
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tel : +1-306-966-5732
Skype : BruceEglington
trying to build a class 10,000 metal-free clean geochemistry laboratory
with class 100/10 laminar-flow fume hoods. Initially, I plan to use PVC
ceiling grids and panels for the ceiling, PVC panels to cover the existing wall
and seamless epoxy floor finish for the floor. It turns out that these
stuffs are pretty expensive so we'd like to try something else. I am wondering
if you can give me some suggestions or tell me about what kind of materials
that you used for your clean lab and where you bought them.
Isotope Laboratory, Department of
Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences
University of Arkansas
113 Ozark Hall
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