Factors of a Good Chemistry Lab Control System
Anyone who has taken a chemistry class knows that it is a delicate science which can only be performed with the utmost accuracy and care. In fact, for most people, one high school or college chemistry class doesn’t even come close to maintaining the same degree of precision that the field actually necessitates. Unfortunately, the care of one individual chemist does not make up for flaws in the environment of a chemist. If a fume hood does not properly contain the dangerous fumes given off by some chemicals, then it does not matter how accurate and careful a scientist is – the environment is unsuitable for chemistry (and potentially unsafe). When designing a chemistry lab, then, it is important to consider a control system that ensures safety, quality, and reliability in the lab.
Safety is one of the number one concerns with fume hoods. Obviously, a fume hood has to be able to properly contain gases that could be potentially harmful to scientists. If one dangerous gas escapes into a room, it could pose a serious danger to any chemists working in the room. One feature that is frequently overlooked when looking at a control system, for example, is how quickly the system responds when the fume hood is opened so that no gases escape. If the system takes more than even a second to respond, the integrity of the lab environment could be compromised.
Another example is how opening the sash of one fume hood could affect the environment within the others. The system should be able to support independent operation of specific fume hoods so that the environment within each one remains stable, even if the sash of another is opened. Good control systems will also allow chemists to “turn off” some fume hoods when they are out of commission. This lets the chemistry lab conserve energy, which reduces operating costs. In fact, systems that do not use as much energy are much better than systems that do because of the cost of operating the system. Most labs need their funding in order to do research, not necessarily to keep the wet chemistry laboratory control solution running. An even better system allows users to decommission entire rooms to conserve energy.
All of these factors also contribute to the reliability of a control system, which directly affects the quality of the samples and research in the facility. It is a scientific standard to replicate results before coming to any conclusions – if the environment of a fume hood or within the research facility is unstable, it could affect the results of experiments. Temperature, for example, is a major factor in many scientific experiments, especially those involving volatile chemicals. A proper environment control system maintains a stable temperature regardless of the happenings within the lab. This is the same for pressure and airflow. In order to truly perform chemistry to a standard of excellence, all factors must be considered in a laboratory, not the least of which is the control system for the environment.