Clean Rooms - What are they and how do they work?

A clean room is a controlled environment that has very low levels of airborne particulates. This means that it is free of dust, dirt, and other particles that can contaminate sensitive materials. Clean rooms are used in a variety of industries, including semiconductor manufacturing, pharmaceutical production, and medical device manufacturing.

There are many different types of clean rooms, each with its own set of specifications. The most common way to classify clean rooms is by the number of particles allowed in the air per cubic meter. For instance, an ISO class 7 clean room has no more than 2,930 particles of 5 micrometers or larger in size per cubic meter of air.  In addition, ISO Class 7 clean rooms require 60 – 150 air changes per hour.  ISO class 1 – 6 clean rooms have even stricter particle and air change requirements.

Clean rooms are typically constructed of materials that are easy to clean and maintain. The walls, floors, ceilings, and furniture are often made of smooth, non-porous materials. The air in a clean room is filtered through high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which remove 99.97% of particles 0.3 micrometers or larger in size.  In addition to the physical environment, clean rooms also have strict procedures in place to prevent contamination from raw materials and employees. In a class 7 clean room, employees are required to wash their hands and wear a hair net, gown, and booties.  In stricter clean rooms, employees may need to shower and change into clean clothing and then wear clean room suits and hair nets before entering the clean room. All materials that are brought into the clean room must be cleaned prior to entry.

The most stringent clean rooms (ISO class 1 – 4) are typically used for nanotechnology and sensitive electronics production.  ISO class 5 – 8 clean rooms are typically used for biology, pharmaceutical, and life sciences applications.  An ISO class 7 clean room is widely applied in the production of medical devices.

Clean rooms are an essential part of many industries. They help to ensure the quality and safety of products that are manufactured in these environments.