Glove boxes are enclosed spaces that allow the scientists to work with sensitive, volatile or harmful substances without worrying about them getting harmed or the substances getting contaminated. All the sensitive substances are put under a secured box and the scientists can work with these substances through gloves that protrude into the chamber from the outside.
Most of glove boxes that are used in laboratories are used made of clear materials such as Fibre glass, tempered glass, acrylic or even poly carbonate to see the substances inside.
Generally, there are two kinds of glove boxes when it comes to their functioning: Isolation Glove boxes and Containment glove boxes.
Isolation glove boxes which are also called as nitrogen glove boxes or inert glove boxes are used for substances that are require a highly inert atmosphere. These substances can easily react with any material present in the atmosphere including water. Hence, These boxes are used to isolate the substances in an environment that only has inert gases like nitrogen and argon that do not react with most substances.
Containment glove boxes are enclosed spaces that are used for containing highly dangerous substances that might harm the scientists. Therefore, these boxes are used for dealing with highly hazardous substances like dangerous bacteria. These boxes completely seal the internal atmosphere and provide a safe environment for the scientists to analyse and work with them.
Differences between Containment glove boxes and Isolation glove boxes
Isolation glove boxes are the most common type of boxes that are found in laboratories. There are laboratory boxes that can work as both an isolation as well as containment Glove boxes, but depending upon their utility, their prices would differ. Hence, it becomes important to check and buy the boxes that would be helpful for your work.
Containment glove boxes are however, more expensive than isolation boxes. This is because the risk that is connected with them is significantly higher. They have to be made without any leakage problems so that scientists can safely work with the pathogens. In case of any leakage, it can result in some really dangerous consequences. The leakage could kill the operators and might even force the entire laboratory to be contained.
When it comes to containment boxes, it is essential that they come packed with features that we can work with to control the substances inside. These include a sophisticated user interface system through which all the humidity, gas composition, pressure can be controlled. It is best if these boxes come with programmable logic control systems to automate the controlling of the internal atmosphere. There must be a convenient way to monitor and analyse the internal environment of the box.
It is essential that containment glove boxes are always properly sterilized. With a multitude of pathogens and bacteria that are being introduced to the glove box system, it becomes necessary that they are kept clean. This is because contamination of the boxes could result in spreading and cross culture between different pathogens. This could result in cross contamination of different dangerous bacteria and lead to critical infections.