Humidity-Controlled Dry Rooms
Certain materials are chemically sensitive to moisture. This is why, in some controlled environments, humidity control is critical. Low humidity rooms, or dry rooms as they are often termed, are environments with stringent humidity control. Rooms with an ultra-low dew point air supply of around -40dp, are becoming more widespread due to advancements in technology applications where there is a strong correlation between humidity in the production environment and poor product performance, such as lithium-ion battery or photovoltaic cell production.
Although humidity is often seen as the primary environmental control in applications such as these, particulate control is equally as critical due to the sensitive nature of the product and processes.
With the advent of smartphones, smart homes and electric cars, batteries are not only in demand, but consumers are demanding more from them. The challenge is on for next generation battery development. Developments are leading to increased performance in lithium-ion batteries and also the successful exploration of the viability of other materials to be used in battery technology.
When working with advanced materials in this way, humidity and static can cause shorts between connections and layers, so stringent control operating within defined tolerances is paramount to creating a stable environment.
Environments in this industry come in all shapes and sizes, with some requiring clean and ultra-dry environments with footprints in excess of 20,000m2,
When an environment requires control over multiple parameters, such as humidity, temperature and particulate control, the air supply processing demands will be high. To avoid unnecessarily high energy consumption and running costs, facility owners can look to create zones that localise control to a specific part of the process. Once these zones are established and their specific tolerances defined, the facility will benefit from lower energy consumption and a reduction in the level of plant associated due to process-appropriate HVAC specification.
A decentralised air-handling system is the constituent parts of an air handling unit (AHU), broken down into separate pieces of plant and distributed locally to an environment. It is highly-suitable to deliver zone-controlled air supply as each zone is treated independently, as opposed to a centralised system (AHU) where reverse processing and reprocessing of the air occurs in order to deliver the varying levels of requirements.
Within R&D applications, it needs to be defined whether it is the synthesis of the materials or the deposition processes that cause defects. An ultra-low humidity room gives a consistent environment in which to investigate issues and produce a stable baseline for materials and processes.