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In-depth Look at the Types of Cleanrooms

Over the next couple blogs, CleanroomsUSA will take an in-depth look into the types of cleanrooms. But first, we need define what a cleanroom is...

According to IQS - a cleanroom is a specially designed and configured room that has been constructed to eliminate dust particulates and atmospheric contaminants. They are commonly used for scientific research, pharmaceutical production, and other industries that produce products that can be damaged by unsanitary or polluted conditions.





The classification of a cleanroom is based on the amount of particulate matter (PM) per cubic meter, which includes both particles and liquids in the air. For reference, the air we typically breathe contains about 35 million particles per cubic meter, each approximately 0.5 micrometers (μm) in size, with a micrometer being one-millionth of a meter.


Cleanrooms are classified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) using a scale from ISO 1, representing the cleanest environments, to ISO 9, indicating a less stringent level of cleanliness. The classification depends on both the size and number of particles present in the air.


In the United States, cleanrooms were traditionally classified using Federal Standard 209E, established by the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) in 1963. This system ranged from Class 1, equivalent to ISO 3, to Class 100,000, corresponding to ISO 8. Although this classification system was officially retired in 2001 as it became outdated, some countries continue to use it.


For many years, scientists, engineers, and designers struggled to create uncontaminated environments due to issues with controlling particles and airflow. This challenge was overcome in 1960 when physicist Willis Whitfield developed a groundbreaking filtration system, leading to the creation of the modern cleanroom.


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