HEPA Filters And Atom Bombs

Many historians believe that the war with Japan ended because of the use of two Atom bombs. With the mass destruction caused by these two newly developed weapons the beginning of a new era in power and weaponry had begun. But along with the development of this new and powerful technology came the development of another invention….HEPA paper or HEPA filters.

When the scientists from all over the world gathered in Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1943 they were given the task of developing a new weapon that could be used to end the war in Japan. Since many of the scientist were unfamiliar with using plutonium, a highly radioactive material, they had no idea of the dangers or health risks of handling or being exposed to the Alpha particles emitted from the plutonium.

Because the alpha particles were so small, less than 10 microns in diameter and some less than 1 micron, ( a human hair is 100 microns in diameter ) normal air filter media that was used in those days was not even close to capturing these tiny particles.

Most radioactive materials emit alpha ( fast moving particles that give up their energy quickly and are very dangerous and one of  the main components of  radon), beta ( slower moving radioactive particles that decay slowly, takes longer exposure times to cause damage) and gamma rays  ( which are produced by the destruction of atoms and are invisible ).

HEPA filters were developed by the Atomic Energy Commission as protection from radioactive contamination for workers on the Manhattan Project. Originally classified, HEPA technology was de-classified after the war when a wealth of industrial applications became apparent.

HEPA filters are made of fine-diameter fiberglass compressed into a fabric-paper sheet, which is then finely pleated to increase the particle-trapping surface area. HEPA filters media is normally housed in a metal frame that is tightly sealed and the frame has a gasket to allow for an air tight seal against an opening to ensure all the particles you are trying to capture go into the filter.

All true, certified HEPA filters meet have to meet stringent DOE requirements as well as ASHRAE standards. Today HEPA filters are used in hundreds of commercial, industrial and institutional applications and in many homes and offices.

Pure Air Systems was one of the first air filtration companies to incorporate true HEPA filters into its air filtration systems in 1985. Today PAS has more HEPA systems installed across North America than almost any other air filtration company in the US. For more information on the complete line of HEPA and carbon based air filtration systems please go to our website at: www.pureairsystems.com


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