When comparing appropriate cleanroom gloves for your critical environment, Valutek recommends you review the five C’s of glove selection – construction, compatibility of chemicals, cleanliness, comfort and cost. Doing so will ensure that you are really taking all of the measures to keep your cleanroom clean.
The first is simple – the three choices of construction for a cleanroom glove are nitrile, latex or PVC. While the choice is simple you need to be aware of what is appropriate for your cleanroom. Take that into consideration when making your choice. Please keep in mind that not ever material is suitable for every critical environment.
When it comes to compatibility with chemicals the clear winner is nitrile. Latex is a good alternative in dealing with mild acids and PVC doesn’t go through any vulcanization or curing, so it has an open molecular structure. While very clean, PVC is only recommended in very dry environments as it is not good in dealing with any type of chemical.
In cleanliness, nitrile gloves again rate at the top. Nitrile is an inorganic substrate versus latex, which is made of tree sap, making it organic. While PVC gloves are clean, their use is limited to certain settings because of their makeup.
Comfort is obviously important to the operator. In a trial of latex vs. nitrile vs. PVC, each was worn by the operator holding his hand in a fist for a few minutes. When the latex glove was removed, inverted and inflated, there was no memory at all. The glove was not conforming to the operator’s hand. Despite its elasticity, which offers some comfort, latex does not "glove" the hand.
With the nitrile glove, once removed, inverted and inflated, one can see the knuckles and the curvature of the palm. The nitrile glove has a good memory. In comparison, the PVC glove, again removed, inverted and inflated, did show a bit of memory, such as the curve and shape of the hand, but not the depth that the nitrile revealed.
Nitrile is the best available choice for operator comfort due to its remarkable memory-membrane. The fit allows improved motion and minimizes fatigue.
When considering only cost, PVC is, indeed, the lowest cost substrate, followed by nitrile and then, latex. Latex has gotten to be a very high cost substrate construction material, because of its now global shortage.
Of course, now that you have the basics it is important to remember that not all of these gloves are compatible with every environment. So please be aware of that when making your election. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.