What is differential pressure?
In a sterile environment, such as healthcare facilities, laboratories, or cleanrooms, maintaining a controlled and differential air cascade is paramount for ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness and preventing contamination. Differential pressure is the key mechanism that regulates the flow of air between different zones within these environments.
Pressure stabilisers, located in the walls between these areas, maintain or ‘stabilise’ this pressure cascade, ensuring airflow doesn’t flow in the opposite direction, reducing post-operative infection.
The importance lies in creating a controlled airflow that moves from areas of higher pressure to lower pressure. This strategic airflow design prevents the infiltration of contaminants into critical zones. For instance, in pharmaceutical manufacturing or hospital operating rooms, maintaining positive air pressure in clean zones compared to adjacent areas prevents airborne particles and microbes from entering the sterile space.
Conversely, negative air pressure in spaces like isolation rooms containing infectious patients ensures that contaminants are effectively contained within that space, preventing their escape into surrounding areas. The meticulous control of air pressure differentials plays a pivotal role in safeguarding sensitive processes, equipment, and, most importantly, the well-being of patients or the integrity of experiments conducted in sterile environments. Differential pressure is an indispensable element in upholding the stringent hygiene standards required in these critical settings.
The diagram above is taken from HTM 03-01 Part A (2021 ): The concept, design, specification, installation and acceptance testing of healthcare ventilation systems