The glove box is part of the protective equipment often found in scientific and industrial laboratories. When the products or substances to be handled require a controlled atmosphere, its use is recommended. If you have to work with air-sensitive materials or toxic compounds that are dangerous for humans and the environment, you need a glove box with a controlled atmosphere.

How Does a Controlled Atmosphere Glove Box Work?

A glove box is a material consisting of a stainless steel structure, a hermetic enclosure accessible by protective gloves, at least one transfer lock and an automatic safety flow. These components protect it from sources of contamination. The products used cannot contaminate the operator and the environment. The handling and transfer of products and instruments are carried out in compliance with the containment. The protection of the products is guaranteed even in case of leakage or failure thanks to the safety system.

Gas purifiers and regulators allow the control of the internal conditions of the glove box (pressure, humidity, protective gas, etc.). This is why it is called a controlled atmosphere. Highly sensitive chemical and industrial processes can be carried out in the glove box or hazardous products can be handled.

Glove boxes are frequently used in fields such as pharma-medical, high-tech industries, research and development, nuclear, aeronautics, etc. You can use them to contain hazardous substances or for applications that absolutely require an ultra-pure inert atmosphere.

What Type of Glove Box is best for your Needs?

With a controlled atmosphere glove box, the level of safety and containment is much higher than with other protective equipment such as a fume cupboard or chemical hood. However, personal protection must always be worn. Depending on the intended application, you can choose between two types of glove boxes:

  • The glove box for the containment of hazardous substances

Hazardous materials include radioactive materials and elements, pathogens, toxic compounds, allergens, carcinogens, etc. For applications involving these types of products, you must use the appropriate glove box for their containment. This glove box is equipped with specific filters that trap harmful and risky elements. It is normally under vacuum so that the contaminants always remain in the protected area and do not spread to the environment. Its primary function is to protect personnel and the environment.

  • The inert atmosphere or vacuum glove box

This glove box is designed for handling products that are sensitive to environmental conditions, i.e. pyrophoric and oxidizable products. It is also suitable for applications involving hygroscopic products or products that absorb moisture from the air. You can obtain an inert and ultra-pure atmosphere by using it with a gas purifier (under nitrogen or argon). The latter allows the removal of oxygen, moisture and traces of solvents from the enclosure, hence the absence of reaction. The atmosphere can be evacuated if the process requires it.

Standard glove boxes are produced by many manufacturers for the most common pharmaceutical, industrial, nuclear, aeronautical, research, etc. processes. When your project presents higher risks and specific constraints, it is better to opt for a modular model or to design a custom-made controlled atmosphere glove box with a recognized specialist.