A lab glove box is an enclosure that effectively isolates the interior process environment from the outside or ambient environment to protect the operator outside the glovebox and/or processes inside the glovebox. Gloves installed in the front- or side-panels allow user(s) to safely perform tasks inside the glovebox without breaking containment. Common applications include sensitive operations requiring controlled atmospheres, or handling of hazardous materials.
Glove boxes have as many names as they do shapes and sizes. Terra manufacturers and stocks glove box designs for every application:
Isolation glovebox systems protect materials or processes from the operator and/or the ambient environment. Isolation glove boxes may be configured to prevent specific kinds of exposure (to humidity, particles, static charges, low or high temperature, etc.).
Pharmaceutical isolators are designed to meet USP 797 sterile compounding and/or USP 800 hazardous compounding requirements
Compounding Aseptic Isolator (CAI), or laminar flow glovebox systems feature a sterile ISO 5 positive pressure environment to meet USP 797 regulations for sterile pharmaceutical glove box compounding.
Terra also offers glove box isolator designs capable of maintaining low oxygen and moisture levels down to 1 ppm. Inert glove box or nitrogen glove box designs provide a controlled environment for moisture sensitive materials by purging the glovebox of ambient air with a steady flow of inert gas, such as Nitrogen or Argon.
Containment glove box or barrier isolator designs protect the operator and/or ambient environment from the material or process inside the glove box. These glove boxes are commonly used to isolate hazardous or non-hazardous materials in the pharmaceutical, biological, and nuclear industries. Terra offers several designs of containment gloveboxes:
A mail handling glove box protects personnel by providing an isolated environment to contain potentially hazardous powders or bacteria. This glovebox can also be configured with negative pressure air filtrations systems to capture hazardous powders, vapors or fumes.
Closed loop or recirculating HEPA filter glove box systems are configured with a HEPA or ULPA filtered blower to filter and recirculate air free of submicron contaminants down to Class 10 particle requirements. Recirculating gloveboxes are useful for applications that also require an inert or low moisture atmosphere.
Open loop or non-recirculating HEPA filter glove box systems push ambient air through a HEPA or ULPA filter before passing into the glovebox. The air is then exhausted through a second HEPA or ULPA filter to capture submicron powders or contaminants before exiting the glovebox.
A controlled environment glove box (either isolation or containment) meets precise requirements for humidity, temperature, static safety, particulates, and/or other environmental conditions. Typically, controlled atmosphere glove boxes operate under a positive pressure of inert process gas or a negative pressure for fume or other contaminant removal.
Anaerobic and hypoxia chamber systems provide low oxygen environments to support microaerophilic bacteriology and hypoxia cell culture processes. An anaerobic chamber is designed to keep oxygen levels as low as possible, while a hypoxia chamber allows researchers to achieve a specific oxygen set point.
Vacuum glove box and negative pressure glove box systems are designed for applications requiring full vacuum (29.9”Hg) or sub-ambient pressures. Models capable of holding full vacuum can double as an inert atmosphere glove box as they can work in tandem with a vacuum pump to reach full vacuum and then backfill with an inert gas to displace residual impurities such as moisture and oxygen.
Temperature controlled glove box systems feature insulated double-walled construction for uniform temperature control. An optional temperature control system can be integrated to the glovebox to provide stable heating and cooling cycles. These temperature and humidity controlled glove box designs can also be configured with HEPA or ULPA filtration and gas purge systems for an inert, low particle environment.
What is the best material for my glove box application?
The material used to build a custom glove box must provide both a durable and effective isolation barrier. The material must also support the required conditions inside the glovebox. Keep the below characteristics in mind to choose a material that best fits your glovebox application:
Cleanliness or particle control
Electrostatic discharge safety
Vacuum or negative pressure
A stainless steel glovebox provides the best combination of durability, chemical resistance, and cleanliness. Terra’s stainless steel glove box designs are available in 316 or 304 stainless steel. Safety glass viewing windows include fluorescent lighting to illuminate the interior work area. Stainless steel gloveboxes can also be designed to hold negative pressure or full vacuum.
Terra’s BioSafe® stainless steel glovebox isolator is designed specifically for bio-pharmaceutical processes. These stainless steel glove boxes feature continuous seam welds, wide radius corners, and sloped bottoms for easy wipe downs and sterilization. The access doors are removable and auto-clave safe. Optional HEPA or ULPA filtration systems can be integrated to the glovebox to remove submicron powders and aerosols.
A plastic glove box is usually the lowest cost option, however is not the ideal choice for moisture sensitive applications. Although convenient, these portable glove boxes are hygroscopic and permeable, which allow moisture and oxygen to penetrate the enclosure over an extended time. A continuous internal positive pressure of inert gas helps to compensate for the permeable and hygroscopic characteristics of the plastic panels. Terra manufactures and stocks several types of plastic lab glove box designs:
Acrylic glove box: lowest cost, lightweight, rigid, and provides full visibility.
Static-Dissipative PVC glove box: protects materials against electrostatic discharge (ESD) by safely dissipating surface charges. Elimination of attractive forces such as static cling also helps maintain low-particle conditions. Transparent with a slight blue tint, PVC panels support clear viewing of glove box-enclosed processes.
Polypropylene glove box: provides excellent chemical resistance against acids and solvents. Polypropylene gloveboxes have an opaque white material construction and include a lighting unit mounted to the viewing window.
Polycarbonate glove box: transparent with a slight gray tint, these units offer broad-spectrum chemical resistance, high impact resistance, and excellent thermal resistance (to 200°F / 93.3°C)
What are the advantages of a nitrogen purged glove box?
A process gas or “purge gas” is used to displace moisture and oxygen-laden ambient air inside the glovebox. Generally, the selection of a process gas is based on its ability to retard chemical reaction, especially oxidation. Nitrogen is the most common process gas because it is inert, nontoxic, noncombustible, and relatively inexpensive.
Thus gloveboxes are often purged with dry Nitrogen gas to maintain an anaerobic and inert atmosphere that prevents unwanted chemical reactions, such as oxidation and hydrolysis.
What is RH recovery time?
RH recovery time is the time required to recover to the desired relative humidity or moisture set point after the glovebox is opened and exposed to ambient air.
The acceptable RH set point depends on your process application and requirements. Many semiconductor and optical sensing devices include electronics that require a storage environment of less than 10% RH as they are degraded by brief exposure to moisture substantially above this level. Unfortunately, depending on the size of the glove box, some isolator glove boxes can require up to an hour to retain a 10% RH set point, particularly if ambient humidity is high. If a door is opened again before set point is attained, parts may be exposed to unacceptable moisture levels for hours!
More critical applications may require moisture concentration levels below 1% RH, which can be measured in parts per million (PPM) by volume.
Terra offers a number of accessories to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of nitrogen purged gloveboxes:
Oxygen analyzers ensure oxygen levels in a glovebox remain below acceptable concentrations, often < 1 PPM, making them suitable for applications requiring extremely low oxygen concentration levels.
Terra’s Dual Purge™ and NitroWatch® automatic RH control systems efficiently and automatically control the flow of Nitrogen gas to reach the required RH setpoint.
Terra’s Smart® glovebox features an integrated automatic RH control module suitable for low humidity processing as low as 1%RH.
Terra’s DewWatch™ dew point meter is ideal for ultra-low moisture applications, measuring and controlling moisture volumes inside the glovebox down to 0.5 PPM.
Trace gas mixers are designed for applications requiring more than one process gas inside the glovebox.
Does the exhaust gas of a glovebox require collection through an extraction network?
Glove box exhaust gas collection is optional since the glove box usually functions independently from the exhaust network. However, operations involving hazardous materials may require connecting the glove box to an external facility exhaust system.
How much gas is required to purge a glove box?
A standard single-operator glove box can consume up to one cylinder of inert gas to achieve an initial set point of 5-10% relative humidity. It can take as much as two cylinders of inert gas to purge the system to achieve lower levels for more critical applications. As an approximate rule, the amount of purge gas required is easy to calculate: first you must calculate the volume of your glovebox in cubic feet - a typical single operator glovebox is approximately 20 cubic feet. Then, multiply the volume by 10 for applications requiring 5-10% RH and by 15 for more critical environments. There is 300 cubic feet of gas in a standard gas cylinder so you will need about 2 cylinders of gas.
An on-site Nitrogen generator can eliminate supply constraints and other problems caused by bulky pre-filled Nitrogen cylinders. The system uses a nitrogen membrane to filter ambient air and produce a constant supply of up to 99%+ pure dry Nitrogen gas.
What glove box gloves should I use?
Terra offers isolator gloves and sleeves with designs and materials for every application:
Seamless one-piece gloves and sleeves: provide maximum strength and integrity. This design is ideal for handling hazardous substances and protecting sensitive materials.
Two-piece gloves and sleeves: a good choice for applications that require frequent glove changes. The sleeves remain attached to the glove port while the gloves are replaced. This design include a sleeve-to-glove connecting clamp to support easy glove changes.
Accordion two-piece gloves and sleeves: prevent the sleeve from collapsing and allow for more air circulation through the gloves. The durable accordion sleeves support frequent glove changes and carry a longer shelf-life than one-piece glove and sleeve designs.
Neoprene: offers high tensile strength, dexterity, and flexibility. Neoprene gloves can be strengthened with an outer film of Hypalon to withstand autoclaving and disinfection cycles.
Butyl: features the highest impermeability to water vapor, gases, and toxic chemicals, including most acids and bases. It also resists swelling and attack by many solvents and oxidizing chemicals, and it remains flexible at temperatures as low as -40°C.
Hypalon: offers outstanding resistance to abrasion, oxidizing chemicals, and ozone (a common source of glove failure in a dry box).
Latex: is naturally more flexible than other glove materials and has moderate chemical resistance. It also offers excellent dexterity but may cause hypoallergenic reactions.
Nitrile: gloves have good resistance to punctures, solvents, oils, and greases.
A vacuum glove box provides a negative pressure controlled environment, including full vacuum conditions comparable to outer space. Gloves installed on the front- or side-panels allow user(s) to safely perform tasks inside the glovebox without breaking containment. Terra’s vacuum glove box isolators are used for degassing operations, low-moisture, low-oxygen environments, atmospheric simulation, sensor calibration, and multi-stage vacuum pressure testing.
Vacuum glove boxes are ideal for vacuum cycling and process gas backfilling. This provides a fast, economical way to achieve extremely low moisture and oxygen levels inside the chamber. Acrylic Vacuum Glove Box designs are built with heavy-duty one-inch-thick walls to hold full vacuum down to 29.9" Hg (99.9% vacuum).
Terra’s stainless steel negative-pressure glove box designs offer a range of benefits for special applications that require only partial vacuum. Stainless steel outgasses less than acrylic, is easier to clean, has higher chemical resistance, and is well suited for higher temperature applications. Removable side panels and access doors also make it easy to transfer large equipment and materials. Continuous-seam welded vacuum glove box designs provide easy-to-clean interiors and reduce negative-pressure leak rates.
Vacuum glove boxes can be configured and customized for almost any application. Terra’s Vacuum Control Module automatically controls pump operation to achieve a target vacuum pressure and prevent pump damage during vacuum cycling. Terra’s Dual Purge™ and NitroWatch® nitrogen purge systems offer automatic and efficient sub-ambient RH control down to 0%RH. For even greater accuracy and control, Terra’s DewWatch™ measures moisture volumes down to 0.5 PPM. A trace oxygen analyzer can also be configured for high-precision oxygen detection down to 0% PPM.
Browse our wide selection of vacuum glove box systems and accessories online. Call, email, or chat with a live product specialist to request a free quote or discuss configurations and custom solutions.
Acrylic vacuum glove box designs feature 1” thick reinforced walls to reach full vacuum 29.9”Hg which also allows for faster vacuum cycling and inert gas back-filling. Ideal for altitude simulation or anaerobic processing in low humidity nitrogen or argon environments.
Negative Pressure ISO 5 Glove Box with Continuous-Seam Welds and Tilt-Up Window
A negative pressure glove box is designed for rapid removal of oxygen and backfill with inert nitrogen or argon to establish an anaerobic processing environment. Continuous-seam welds with radius corners simplify cleaning and reduce leak rate during vacuum cycling. The tilt-up gasketed window facilitates transfer of larger equipment that can't fit through the airlock.
Stainless Steel Negative Pressure Glovebox with Removable Side Panels
Stainless steel glove box provides a clean, controlled environment with -5"Hg vacuum processing capacity. Optional plastic 10" dia. glove ports can be removed to change glove types. Versatile removable side panels allow for transfer of large equipment, attachment to pass-through ovens, or connection to an adjacent glove box.
Air Lock Provides Convenient Access
Optional air locks (single- and double-wall) maintain integrity of the controlled environment during parts transfer
Manufacturer, Distributor and Service Provider
Terra is not just a product manufacturer, we provide a suite of services to help our customers navigate the complex process of ensuring their equipment is operational
Custom Product Designs
Product customization is no problem, Terra’s engineering team will work with you to design a product that meets your unique requirements
Vacuum Glove Boxes by Terra Universal
Stainless Steel Single Series 310 Negative Pressure Glovebox
Right Airlock Acrylic Vacuum Glovebox
Series 200 Negative Pressure Glove Boxes
Terra Universal IQ-OQ Process
Single Series 310 Negative Pressure Glovebox Shown with optional gauge, stand, and right sided airlock. | 3305-54B displayedStainless Steel Single Series 310 Negative Pressure GloveboxAccelerates oxygen removal and backfill with inert Process gas Includes a front transparent tempered safety glass window and fluorescent light fixture providing visibility of the work area Provides a clean, air-tight, controlled environment for various manufacturing processes
Single Acrylic RightHand Airlock Vaccum Glovebox | 3306-88 displayedRight Airlock Acrylic Vacuum GloveboxArm ports accomodate a wide variety of gloves and sleeves from Terra Universal Product is designed for vacuum levels below 29" Hg (intermitent) and 28" Hg (sustained)
Series 200 negative pressure glove boxes are ideal for drying, degassing, and ventilation applicationsSeries 200 Negative Pressure Glove BoxesSeries 200 negative pressure glove boxes are ideal for drying, degassing, and ventilation applications.
This video describes the IQ/OQ process for Equipment and CleanroomsTerra Universal IQ-OQ ProcessThis video describes the IQ/OQ process for Equipment and Cleanrooms
Pressure: Negative pressure to 5" WG (main chamber), 29.9"Hg (vacuum antechamber)
Access: Negative-pressure air lock or vacuum antechamber; arm ports with sealing port caps
This Glove Box allows safe mixing and handling of fuming chemistries. Half-inch thick acrylic chamber walls support a negative pressure of up to 5" WG, typically more than adequate for ventilating the Glove Box with either a vacuum pump or an exhaust fan. Ductless exhaust applications include an activated charcoal filter for safe removal of specific chemicals from the exhaust flow.
Arm port caps are opened when the chamber is being ventilated to allow influx of make-up air, and closed during purge operations to permit precise regulation of the negative pressure. A built-in pressure safety valve automatically opens at negative pressures in excess of 5" WC to protect the chamber.
A negative pressure air lock, with .25" (6 mm) vacuum line fittings and pressure safety valve, is specified for low-level negative pressures (to 5" WG), and a cylindrical pass-through vacuum antechamber is specified for processing at full vacuum.
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