Gas Measurement for Inert Atmosphere Glove Boxes


Many materials and chemicals are sensitive to moisture (anhydrous) and oxygen (anaerobic) and require tightly controlled environments containing low levels of oxygen and humidity during manufacture or research to ensure product quality. Air-sensitive chemicals are most easily manipulated in a steel glovebox purged with inert gas such as nitrogen, helium or argon.

This reduction in the oxygen and humidity levels may be for a number of design engineering reasons like:

  • Oxygen sensitive products
  • Moisture sensitive products
  • Safety from explosions by reducing the oxygen level below the Lowest Explosion Limit (LEL)
  • For laboratories that continually work with air sensitive or moisture sensitive chemicals, gloveboxes that maintain low oxygen (<1ppm O2) and humidity levels (<1ppm H2O) for long periods of time are essential. These gloveboxes need to have very low oxygen leak rates which are indicated by the ISO 10648-2:1994 Classes; Classes 1-4 with Class 1 having the lowest leak rate.

    Safety is the main concern when installing and operating this type of equipment. Eliminating the risk to the operator from exposure to the product or process within the controlled environment must always be a priority. Companies using inert gas technology must also consider the risks associated with the processes carried out with Glove Box or Isolator.

    Assuring the quality and monitoring of the controlled environment within the containment system must be dependable at all stages of product handling from charging, sampling, drying, packing, cleaning etc. During many of these operations the inert atmosphere within the glovebox needs to be analyzed to ensure there is no oxygen or moisture present.