Getting the Right Medical Room Pressure

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities, and you.

Getting the Right Medical Room Pressure

With airborne infectious diseases that can easily spread from one person to another, such as the COVID-19 virus, isolation is critical. In a hospital or clinic, an isolation room needs negative pressure to have airflow into the room and avoid pathogens, or germs, from escaping. In addition to viruses, other undesirable contaminants to keep away from the rest of the population and sterile equipment in a hospital include bacteria, fungi, yeasts, molds, pollens, gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), small particles and chemicals.

The airflow to create and maintain the negative pressure (vacuum) in the room requires a consistent pressure differential of about 0.01 inch water gauge (in. w.g.) or 2.5 Pascals (Pa).

According to the Facility Guidelines Institute’s (FGI’s) most recent 2018 FGI Guidelines ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2017, other rooms that should be negatively pressurized include:

  • Emergency Department Public Waiting Areas
  • Emergency Department Decontamination
  • Radiology Waiting Rooms
  • Triage
  • Bathrooms
  • Airborne Infection Isolation (AII) Rooms
  • Most Laboratory Work Areas
  • Autopsy Rooms
  • Soiled Workrooms or Soiled Holding Rooms
  • Soiled or Decontamination Rooms in Sterile Processing Department
  • Soiled Linen Sorting and Storage
  • Janitors’ Closets

In contrast, protecting the patient and sterile medical and surgical supplies in an operating room requires positive pressure to keep undesirable contaminants outside. The positive pressure room is achieved by pumping in filtered, clean air.

Isolation (Low) vs. operating room (High) pressure

Isolation (Low) vs. operating room (High) pressure.
Source: Minnesota Department of Health

In fact, some portable, headgear-mounted air purifying respirator systems use positive pressure to protect the wearer.

Comments/Questions?
Do you have a pressure sensing question? Let us know and we’ll address it in an upcoming blog.
Email us at info@allsensors.com

Suction Solutions

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities and you.

Suction Solutions

Designers often look to nature for ideas that can be implemented in new products. Octopus suction cups provide an interesting pressure example.

When the octopus’ sucker is sealed to a surface, contraction of its radial muscles thins the wall of the sucker which tends to increase the enclosed volume.  However, the cohesiveness of water resists volume expansion and the pressure of the enclosed water decreases instead. With this mechanism, an octopus can create a pressure differential of 100-200 kPa (14.5-29 psi) at sea level and generate a significant amount of force.

Suction cups allow professional glazers to easily pick up and move large pieces of glass. One company offers a Vacuum Cup Octopus with Pump that can lift a maximum weight of 185 kg (407.9 lbs.) vertically with a 300-mm (11.8-in) diameter vacuum cup. One version includes a manual vacuum pump with a leak gauge to monitor the effectiveness of the suction.

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Source: Vacuum Cup Octopus with Pump

Vacuum suction cups offer a versatile method of material handling. In fact, suction cups also allow robots to pick different smooth surfaced objects. The approach has been applied to the robotics field since the 1960s. One recent research effort focuses on suction cups that can be used on robots designed to perform tasks in unstructured and contaminated environments. Of course, monitoring the amount of vacuum (negative pressure) with an accurate and rugged microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) pressure sensor can provide an even greater amount of control to more sophisticated suction applications.

Comments/Questions?
Do you have a pressure sensing question? Let us know and we’ll address it in an upcoming blog.
Email us at info@allsensors.com

Another Pressure Sensor Possibility: A Vacuum Cleaner

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities and you. In this blog we’ll look at a pressure application for vacuums.

Another Pressure Sensor Possibility: A Vacuum Cleaner

In hotels and several other types of commercial buildings, you have good chance of seeing a maintenance person using a Sensor S12 or S15 vacuum cleaner (or in this case, waiting to be put away). The industrial service vacuum cleaner has a bag full light that comes on when there is a reduction in airflow in the system from a clog or full bag; the machine has a 99.6% filtration rate at 0.3 microns. After 45 seconds to a minute, the machine shuts down to prevent excessive loading of the motor and ineffective cleaning. While a pressure sensor could be used to provide this functionality, an alternate technique is currently used.

 

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In fact, measuring the pressure drop in many airflow situations that need to be monitored and controlled for proper operation are a perfect application for low pressure sensors (frequently less than 1-inch of water such as the 1 INCH-D1-4V-MINI or 1 INCH-D2-BASIC) that can measure and accurately detect small pressure variations. With the right resolution pressure sensor, even more functionality can be provided to vacuum cleaners and critical airflow applications.

What do you think/Comments?
Do you have a pressure sensing question? Let me know and I’ll address it in an upcoming blog.
-Dan DeFalco, Marketing Manager, All Sensors Corporation (ddefalco@allsensors.com)