Arcoplast sent a preassembled 4’ cube to have a vacuum decay test performed by Architectural Testing Inc. The goal was to see what could be expected given an entirely sealed Arcoplast environment.

The cube featured Arcoplast fiberglass composite wall and ceiling panels using a 6mm cement core and Arcoplast’s exclusive finishing compound to create a smooth, seamless bond. It was constructed with 2-1/2” – 20 gauge steel studs on 24” centers and a urethane adhesive to bond the panels to the structure.

The test was a timed decay from 1000 Pa to 200 Pa using two fittings drilled and secured into the existing model using a silicone-based sealant. The test took the entire elapsed time of 420 minutes to drop 737.6 Pa. This was still 62.4 Pa above where the test had originally planned to stop. The end result was an astounding 1.76 Pa per minute drop in vacuum… more than six times better than the maximum allowed decay. Also, the rate of airflow in the 49 cubic foot cube was only 0.01 cfm at 1000 Pa. The maximum allowable rate had been calculated to be 0.049 cfm at 1000 Pa.

The Public Health Agency of Canada document, The Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines: 3rd Edition 2004, requires that an AP containment level 4 room exhibit a maximum of 12.5 Pa per minute pressure drop at 500 Pa over a twenty minute period.

Additionally, the ASME N510 document, Testing of Nuclear Air Treatment Systems (1989) states that the rate of air leakage shall not exceed 0.1% of volume/minute at 1000 Pa for biosafety facilities.

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