A glove box is nothing but a sealed container that is attached to a pair of gloves. These gloves are worn by operators who perform activities within the glove box without breaking the containment. A vacuum glove box is the combination of a glove box and a vacuum chamber. These boxes are fitted with good quality latex gloves, a main chamber door, along with a vacuum gauge. They generally are equipped with a regeneration unit and an antechamber. Vacuum glass boxes also have a side door along with a vacuum air locker. So, that was about the structure of a vacuum glove box. Before we move forward, let us look at the uses of vacuum glove boxes.
Use of a Vacuum Glove Box
Vacuum glove boxes are used in places where certain activities are carried out under controlled environments. For example, clean rooms and laboratories can be examples of places where vacuum glove boxes are used. Researchers use this equipment to conduct experiments and research. These glove boxes are used in experiments where it is very much necessary to keep the room environment under certain conditions, like for example, controlling the temperature and pressure of a room.
Working of a Vacuum Glove Box
A pump is attached to the vacuum chamber which extracts air from within the chamber so that a low-pressure environment is formed. Now the remaining oxygen is replaced by pumping in argon gas or atmospheric nitrogen. This leads to a stable environment that is free from the risk of contamination from reactive gases, thus forming the perfect conditions to carry out experiments.
Types of Glove Boxes
Following are the different types of glove boxes:
- Basic glove boxes
- Biohazard glass boxes
- Inflatable glass bags
- Controlled atmosphere glass boxes
Material Used to Make a Vacuum Glove Box
Acrylic is a material that is very commonly used to make vacuum glove boxes. Acrylic is nothing but a transparent thermoplastic material that serves as a great alternative for glass. Let us look at the major advantages of using acrylic over any other material.
- Resistant to impact: Acrylic is used to build a robust vacuum glove box since it is impact resistant. Acrylic is four to five times more resistant to impact when compared with glass.
- Chemical and scratch resistant: Acrylic is such a type of plastic that is both chemical and scratch resistant.
- Light in weight: The main reason to choose acrylic over glass is that acrylic is much lighter in weight than glass. To be precise, acrylic is almost half the weight of glass.
- Strong: Being light in weight doesn’t mean that acrylic is not strong. It is even stronger than glass.
- Transparent: Acrylic is transparent which allows researchers to see within the vacuum glass box. This gives a clear view from every angle because of its transparency. This gives an extra edge to acrylic since the majority of the materials used to construct vacuum glass boxes are not transparent.
- Cost-effective: We all assume that with better services comes higher costs but that certainly is not the case with acrylic since acrylic is almost half the price of glass and thus it provides a much more cheap option when compared with glass.
- Easy to maintain: A vacuum glass box is very easy to maintain. If any dirt gets accumulated on the glass box, just water, and a microfiber cloth is all you need to clean it and you’re done.
- Easily available: Acrylic glove boxes are easily available in the market and can be found with ease.
Apart from acrylic glove boxes, we can also find glass boxes that are made of aluminium or stainless steel.
Applications of a Vacuum Glove Box
These boxes are generally used to provide an inert atmosphere for testing samples. They help in providing moisture and an oxygen-free environment to prevent oxidation. This equipment is used in chemical industries, defence sectors, research laboratories, electronics industries, pharmaceutical industries, and many such important sectors. Few applications are listed below:
- Space simulation or spacecraft engineering
- Manufacturing semiconductor components
- Developing lithium battery
- Chemical Reactions while conducting research on chemistry
- Conducting research with hazardous materials like radioactive substances
So this was all about vacuum glove boxes. These boxes can also be customized so that they can meet the requirements of the research. Vacuum Glove Boxes help in creating a controlled environment that protects contamination-sensitive objects from the ambient environment. So, to conclude a vacuum glove box made of acrylic would be the best choice if you are looking for a glove box since you would get all the benefits at a very reasonable price.