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.
   Bruce Eglington

Dr Bruce Eglington
Saskatchewan Isotope Laboratory
Geological Sciences
University of Saskatchewan
114 Science Place
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E2
e-mail : [log in to unmask]
tel : +1-306-966-5732
fax : +1-306-966-8593
Skype : BruceEglington


From: Stable Isotope Geochemistry [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Fang-zhen Teng
Sent: January 17, 2008 4:40 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ISOGEOCHEM] Clean lab floor, wall, ceiling and ceiling grids

Dear friends,


I am 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.
Thank you,

Fang-Zhen Teng
Isotope Laboratory, Department of Geosciences &
Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences
University of Arkansas
113 Ozark Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Tel:  479-575-4524
Fax:  479-575-3469
Email: [log in to unmask]