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What is a Glove Box?

The Ossila Glove Box

Glove boxes are an essential piece of equipment used in many areas scientific research. Within a glove box, you can handle sensitive or reactive materials without exposing them to the open air.

A glove box is an enclosed, airtight workspace that allows you to manipulate air sensitive materials and samples in a tightly controlled environment. Some important features of a glove box include:

  • The box is sealed as much as possible to isolate samples from the outside atmosphere.The glovebox is usually filled with an inert gas that will not react with other materials.

  • The researcher interacts with the contents of the box using glove box gloves built into the box's walls.

  • Materials and equipment can be moved into or out of the glove box using an antechamber between the glovebox and the air.

Glove boxes come in a variety of sizes, from small benchtop units (like the Ossila Glove Box) to large units with complex filtration systems. They're typically made of robust metals, like steel, with a transparent window so the researcher can see what they’re’ working with. This window is often made from acrylic or tempered glass. The gloves are usually made of materials like butyl rubber that provide dexterity, with as little leaking as possible.

Why Would You Need A Glove Box?

The main purpose of a glove box is to create and maintain an isolated, controlled environment for your work. Glove boxes can be unvaluable if you are:

  • Working with Oxygen/Moisture-Sensitive Materials - Many chemicals, samples, and experiments require an oxygen-free or low-humidity environment to avoid degradation. Glove boxes allow you to handle these materials without exposing them to air.

  • Hazardous Substance Isolation – Some glove boxes provide a physical barrier to contain or isolate dangerous gases, powders, or other hazardous materials that could be harmful if released into the lab. This protects both the researcher and the surrounding environment. These are know as isolation glove boxes.

  • Contamination Prevention: - A glove box can also protect sensitive samples or experiments from outside contaminants like dust or moisture. This is crucial for things like semiconductor fabrication, protein crystallization, and other precision applications. These glove boxes are known as contamination glove boxes.

In short, glove boxes give researchers the ability to carefully control the environment around their work, whether to protect the contents or to protect the outside world. This makes them an indispensable tool in many high-tech and cutting-edge research fields.

Inert Atmosphere Glove Box

Ossila Glove Box
  • Benchtop Design
  • High Performance
  • Worldwide Shipping

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Contributing Authors

Written by

Dr. Jon Griffin

Product Developer

Edited by

Dr. Mary O'Kane

Application Scientist

We used pre-trained AI to help us write this page. As part of our editorial process, our in-house experts review, fact-check, and edit all AI-generated content to make sure we provide you with accurate and helpful information.

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