Syracuse, NY–Air Innovations, Inc. announces the donation of a demonstration cleanroom to Clarkson University’s Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES), said Air Innovations President and CEO Michael Wetzel, P.E. CARES will use the cleanroom for indoor air quality research, including studies of re-suspension of particle transport related to the causes off childhood asthma and upper respiratory disease.
Clarkson President Tony Collins noted, “CARES’ work on researching aero-allergens in children’s bedrooms and re-suspended particles will be greatly advanced with the use of Air Innovations’s cleanroom because of its ability to isolate, differentiate and quantify various airborne particulates. We are grateful to Air Innovations for its generous donation of this research tool and for Air Innovations’s continuing collaboration with CARES.”
Air Innovations’ modular cleanroom contains ultra-low particulate air (ULPA) filters and has a raised perforated floor to attain laminar flow within the space. An ante-room is attached for gowning and infiltration control, Wetzel explained. It is categorized as an ISO Class 3 cleanroom by the International Organization for Standardization, which means it permits fewer than 35 particles of 0.12 microns in size or larger per cubic foot of air, particles about the size of viruses, small bacteria, fumes, and tobacco smoke. By way of example, a typical office space contains hundreds of thousands of particles that size per cubic foot of air. “The raised floor is ideal for wiring and instrumenting the space for airflow and particulate characteristics, while the full height windows on two sides allow for visual demonstrations and student interaction,” Collins said.
Additionally, the cleanroom features an aluminum distribution plenum, lights and filters in a flush grid. A floor-mounted, vertical Air Innovations AdvancAir® unit is installed adjacent to the room to control temperature and humidity. The AdvancAir unit controls temperature inside the cleanroom within plus or minus 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and is a conditioning system similar to the ones Air Innovations builds for pharmaceutical and semiconductor plants around the world. Two recirculation blowers produce 7,000 cubic feet/minute of airflow through the room, which is the equivalent of about 1 mile per hour or 550 air changes per hour.
For the past two years, Air Innovations has collaborated with CARES on the R&D and product development of Air Innovations’ patent-pending HEPAir X100, an air purifier and ventilator, which is designed to improve air quality in the bedrooms of people with asthma. In clinical trials conducted by Clarkson, HEPAir X100 proved to be effective for reducing particle and gas concentrations, controlling temperature in participants’ bedrooms, and improving the participants’ asthma symptoms. The Clarkson research, which is being expanded and continued through 2010, is led by Philip K. Hopke, Ph.D., and Andrea R. Ferro, P.E., Ph.D. Hopke is CARES director, Bayard D. Clarkson Distinquished Professor, and Jefferson Science Fellow with the U.S. Department of State; Ferro is an associate professor at Clarkson and a recent U.S. National Science Foundation “CAREER” award recipient.
Wetzel, a 1988 graduate of Clarkson, estimated the replacement value of the 8’ wide x 18’ long x 12’ high cleanroom at $140,000. He said the cleanroom was originally erected for an Intel Corporation demonstration; Intel is a world leader in semiconductor manufacturing. Wetzel added that space gained by its dismantling will be used to expand the Air Innovations factory, including the build-out of additional cleanroom facilities for controlling environmental conditions during design, testing and production of original equipment manufacturing (OEM) equipment for Air Innovations customers in the aerospace, homeland security, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, health care and metrology industries.