One of the techniques hospitals use to prevent the spread of illness is a technique we often use in industrial cleaning work inside industrial facilities.
It’s based on a concept of physics taught to school age kids.
Hospitals use ventilation techniques to create isolation rooms to keep infectious patients separate from other people to contain and prevent spreading the infection. The isolation rooms work because of air pressure—negative air pressure.
Contaminants can be harmful to workers and sensitive industrial equipment.
Industrial cleaning creates all kinds of dust and contaminants (especially if the work involves demolition). Just like the hospital, we take steps to contain and prevent the spread of these dusts and contaminants to other parts of the facility. If not contained, these contaminants can be harmful to workers and to sensitive industrial equipment in the facility.
The physics concept at work
We create isolation or containment rooms by using plastic sheeting to create barriers. Air naturally flows from areas with higher pressure to areas with lower pressure. That’s the physics concept at work. We make that concept work for us by using a ventilation system (an industrial fan) to remove more air from the containment room than air allowed to come back inside the room. This creates negative air pressure inside the containment room.
Dust and contaminants remain inside the barrier
Because of negative air pressure, the dust created during industrial cleaning remains inside the barrier. If there is a leak in the barrier, clean air from the facility flows into the containment room and not the other way around. That keeps the dust from escaping from the containment room.
Air is all around us. We might not see it, but we can feel it. We can use the concept of air pressure, both positive and negative air pressure, in industrial cleaning.
Feature Photo (above)
Dry ice blasting inside a GMP Food Production Facility to remove flaking paint from overhead steel pipes. The red arrow at top right points to the dry ice blasting wand. The red arrow at bottom left points to the HEPA air filter and ventilation fan removing air from the floor to ceiling plastic curtain creating a negative air pressure containment room.