Fume Cupboard Performance Testing

Perhaps the most important operational requirement in research laboratories with fume cupboards is speed of response and stability.

Speed of Response < 1 sec

As the operator moves the fume cupboard sash, the control system should respond by reaching airflow equilibrium within 1 second. Slower speeds of response may create a hazard for personnel. To demonstrate this further the following video tests different speeds typically found in the field.

Dynamic testing of a fume cupboard at the factory. Video courtesy of Phoenix Controls

Dynamic containment testing is prescribed in ANSI Z9.5 and ASHRAE Standard 110. Australia’s standard AS 2243 Part 8 has a requirement for up to 5 seconds. 

Automatic Stabiliser

Rather than enforcing a factory like aesthetic look to the roof with many dedicated exhaust stacks and fans, owners can now operate a single manifolded exhaust plenum, fans and stack assembly.

With manifolding a system a new variable is introduced to control – a pesky instability caused by rapid changes in duct static pressure caused by lowering and raising sashes by operators on fume cupboards. While the engineer might consider oversizing ductwork to reduce static pressure, this is rarely possible due to spatial and budget restrictions. Our recommendation is to have an automatic stabiliser built into the control valve itself delivering fast response of < 1 sec to duct static pressure changes.

When both speed of response and stability are under control the manifold laboratory exhaust system will only then be safe and efficient.