Biosafety laboratory, also known as biosafety containment for laboratories, is actually a biological laboratory room or animal laboratory. It’s designed to avoid or control hazardous biological agents through a protective barrier and some management measures. At the same time, it is operated to meet the safety requirements of biological experiments.
Taking flammable liquids as the example, they are usually used in biological experiments. Under the action of fuel fire or heat source, flammable liquids first evaporate into steam and then the steam will go through oxidative decomposition, finally it’s the combustion. At the beginning of a slow burn, the flame is not high, because when the surface temperature is low; the evaporation will be low and the amount of vapor might be less. With prolonged experiment combustion, flame heat will transfer to the liquid surface, and previous evaporation rate and flame temperature will increase at the same time when the surface temperature rises. It will reach the level of boiling liquid. Whereas, if you cannot cut off the air, flammable liquids may completely get burned. The lower the flash point of the liquid is, the greater the risk of fire disaster could be.
It’s common to know fire precautions are necessary in biosafety laboratory. Given the fact, how about it’s features?
1. Low Flash Point
Actually, the ignition energy is relatively small (mostly less than 1 millijoule), with a large explosion hazard. Even Mars and hot surface can cause burning, too. Coupled with a lot of flammable liquids’ large electrical resistance or other elements like fetal fibronectin, it’s easy to accumulate static electricity in operation, and the energy is sufficient to cause combustion and explosion. Oxidizer can also burn or explode flammable liquids (such as cyclopentadiene and nitric acid).
2. Low Boiling Point
Generally, most boiling point is less than 100℃, while the vaporization is fast so it will supply flammable vapors steadily. In addition, viscosity of flammable liquids is mostly small, thus high liquidity is very easy to spread around those chemical substances like daptomycin. Therefore, floating on the ground or working table (mostly due to flammable liquid vapors are heavier than air) can increase the risk of burning and explosion risk.
Clearly, some chemical substances might be toxic, and that’s why researchers should pay more attention to biosafety laboratory. While conducting biological or chemical experiments, necessary protective measures for preventing toxicity are absolutely necessary.
One more point should be stressed here, that is, important ways to extinguish the fire. For flash point below 65℃ and lighter than water, you shouldn’t dissolve it in water, it could be done primarily by dry powder, carbon dioxide, and other types of fire extinguishing agents. While as for fire-soluble and non-soluble flammable liquids, they might be realized with dry powder. Anyway, biosafety laboratory requires enough concerns because it’s the only way to create a great laboratory environment.