Clean rooms are most popularly known in the data recovery and Information Technology industry for its extremely stringent codes for building sensitive hardware components like hard drives. The goal of clean rooms is to control two environmental variables to allow the design, development, and construction of mechanical materials that can be detrimentally impacted by certain elements.
The two main variables a clean room attempts to control are the temperature in the room and the density of small particles per cubic meter. The most prominent need for a clean room is for the data recovery industry that needs an extremely low amount of dust particles in the room for the construction of hard drive platters. Even the smallest amount of dust particles can affect the efficiency of a hard drive causing data loss and an increased chance of hardware failure. Clean rooms are also used in the development and construction of microchips and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, the highest concentration of clean rooms in the world is in Silicon Valley, California because of all the Information Technology firms located in the area.
The idea and development of the first clean room was done in the early 1960's. The idea was to create an area for engineers and scientists to work in a room with low particles that could ruin experiments. Willis Whitfield from Sandia Laboratories developed the idea of ventilation that created a unidirectional or laminar flow air supply. Unidirectional air supply introduces new air into the room and subsequently sucks it out at the opposite end eliminating harmful dust particles that contaminate experiments and other mechanical construction. The design of the room creates a significant decrease in particles that ultimately leaves a clean room with lower microbes and particles that are less than typical environmental factors.
HEPA filters are also common in clean rooms. HEPA filters are newer than the concept of a clean room from the 1960's, so it has enhanced the reduction in dust in rooms for current technology. HEPA filters are commonly used in vacuums and air cleaners for people who have severe allergies to dust particles. HEPA filters are small filters that are placed in areas that move air, like the systems that push and pull air in a clean room. The HEPA filter has tiny perforations that trap dust and microbe particles keeping them out of the filtered air. It gives clean rooms an additional way to filter out harmful particles similar to how a water filter removes bacterium and other harmful particles.
Although clean rooms are not used by the average person in the information technology world, they are an important method in creating hard drives and performing data recovery. These clean rooms give companies a way to develop hardware without the troublesome dust particles that threaten to ruin hardware. Although you may not know the significance of a clean room, the use of a clean room is the major fundamental aspect of a pure computer system.