Clean rooms are highly sanitized environments in which high tech gadgetry and manufacturing work takes place. These rooms are enclosed spaces and come in a variety of sizes, ranging from microenvironments to large-scale industrial workspaces. Clean rooms are used in a wide array of industrial sectors, ranging from biotechnology to aerospace engineering. Some important considerations must be taken for several aspects while choosing or designing a cleanroom. These considerations should include the fabrication types, the cleanliness class and other special features.
The air quality in a clean room has to be strictly managed to reduce as much dust, microbes, and other airborne contaminants as possible. Sometimes the temperature and humidity of the air may also be monitored and adjusted to specific levels, depending on what is taking place in the cleanroom. The work that takes place in a cleanroom usually consists of the manufacturing of objects that have to be contamination free, such as computer hard disk drives and silicon chips, space satellites and interplanetary robotic explorer spacecraft.
Most people who work in clean rooms wear protective clothing and masks to prevent any tiny particles of hair and skin from being released into the air of the room. Something as simple as a sneeze can release thousands of microscopic droplets into the air with each one possibly containing dozens of bacteria and viruses. In addition, the clothing that is worn in clean rooms should be made of special fabrics that won’t give off lint particles.
Depending on the type of work being done, clean rooms may use air cleaners, air purifiers and air filters to help keep the room as clean as possible, but in many cases these contraptions aren’t adequate enough.
Cleanliness class refers to the amount of permissible particles that are allowed in one cubic foot of air. There are several classes of fabrication-type ranging from conventional, modular, hard wall, soft wall and mini-environment. Conventional is the most common type. Each type of fabrication unit is normally used differently depending upon the industry and the purpose for which it is intended. Some clean rooms come equipped with modern gadgetry such as ESD control which measures the level of electrical discharge in the clean room.