Laminar Flow

Where particle contamination is specified as a potential quality issue, laminar flow offers a design solution.

Laminar flow is the directional control of filtered gas passing from a discharge point to a receiving point, where the critical flow is between the two points.

In reality, for the laminar flow to be effective, the gas flow must remain uniform over the entire critical work area to discharge any particulates along with the discharge gas.

Turbulence in the gas flow causes a backwash of gas and is a potential source of redistribution of particulate from the work surface, process material or handling equipment. The point of gas discharge and receiving, therefore become important features in the design for system efficiency.

Another factor of choice is for vertical or horizontal gas flow and this much depends upon the process application, material and work practice. Gas velocity is also important in maintaining uniform laminar flow.

In considering the design it must be established to what degree the gas needs to be filtered from a choice of options, but this can be simplified by opting for commercially available filters in the HEPA or ULPA range, with popular filters rated 99.99% efficient at removing particles down to 0.3 micron in the former and 99.999% efficient at removing particles down to 0.12 micron in the latter.

Laminar flow gas systems are usually specified for the most stringent clean working conditions typically found in electronic industries handling semiconductors, and in pharmaceutical industries.

Laminar flow gas can be the source of a build up of static charges, which can have a marked effect on the behaviour of particulate. Solutions for neutralising this can be integrated into the design specification.

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