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All About Cleanroom Curtains and Strip Curtains

May 25, 2023
Figure1. Softwall cleanroom curtains in pharmaceutical cleanroom

Clear vinyl cleanroom curtains are often used to form air barriers in cleanrooms. They are manufactured from special material that does not particulate. The most common usage is free standing softwall cleanrooms  where the cleanroom solid vinyl curtains are used to form the exterior walls.

Figure 2. ISO-8 softwall cleanroom

Overlapping clear vinyl strip curtains are often used to form entrances in softwall cleanrooms. It is common to have 12” wide strips that are overlapped 2” with adjacent strips on each side. The remaining walls for softwall cleanroom are typically solid clear vinyl.

Figure 3. ISO-8 hybrid cleanroom with 3 walls modular and cleanroom strip curtains as 4th wall and entrance.

The biggest advantages of cleanroom curtains are flexibility and cost.

  • Flexibility: they can be easily installed to create a cleanroom space, or removed to allow large size equipment to be moved in.
  • Cost: the curtains can be hung from existing cleanroom t-grid ceiling to create a new space

The biggest disadvantages of cleanroom curtains are cleanability, durability and ability to block particles.

  • Cleanability: Vinyl cleanroom curtains are difficult to clean as they are not rigid and move when touched. Soap or chemical cleansers will streak on clear vinyl leaving residue. On the other hand, cleanroom modular walls are easily wiped down and depending on material chemical resistant.
  • Durability: the vinyl curtains are soft and will scratch over time – clouding the surface.
  • Ability to block particles – unlike rigid cleanroom walls, cleanroom curtains typically stop 6” short of floor to let air exhaust out of cleanroom. Particles can enter the cleanroom thru this space. Cleanroom strip curtains are pushed aside to enter and exit the cleanroom which allows particles to enter the cleanroom.
Figure 4. Lab space converted to cleanroom with cleanroom curtains

Another application of cleanroom curtains is to create dark spaces for light sensitive experiments or processes like lasers.

Figure 5. Black vinyl cleanroom curtain covering windows in ISO-7 cleanroom

Cleanroom curtains are often used as laser curtains. The special black cleanroom curtains serve two purposes:

  • Block normal white light so laser beams are visible and prevent white light from interfering with the experiment.
  • Block the laser beams for safety purposes. Single or multiple layers of metal foil are inserted between the black vinyl exterior layers to increase the curtain’s resistance to the laser beam.
Figure 6. Black cleanroom curtains on roller track used for Class 1000 cleanroom laser lab on roller track

Most of the time cleanroom curtains are attached to either softwall frame or cleanroom ceiling grid. Black cleanroom curtains used to create dark areas or laser zones are often installed on roller tracks so the curtains can be moved out of the way when not needed.

Summary: Cleanroom curtains are clear vinyl curtains that are hung to create a cleanroom space. Clear vinyl strip curtains (overlapping clear vinyl strips) are used for entrances.  Advantages for cleanroom curtains include flexibility and cost. Disadvantages include cleanability, durability and effectiveness in blocking particles. Black cleanroom curtains are used to block light and/or laser beams.

Property American Cleanroom Systems 2023

The author Anthony Chien has worked at American Cleanroom Systems for more than 10 years . He has more than 40 years of cleanroom experience. Anthony has a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering specializing in semiconductor manufacturing from the University of Illinois. American Cleanroom Systems is a design build modular cleanroom manufacturer based in Rancho Santa Margarita CA. It is expert in ISO-5 thru ISO-8 (class 100 to class 100k) modular cleanrooms for nutraceutical cleanrooms, pharmaceutical cleanrooms, medical device cleanrooms, and industrial cleanrooms.

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