Sentry Air Systems Case Study: Acetone Fume Removal

Acetone Fumes:

Acetone, also known as propanone and dimethyl ketone, is the simplest example of ketone compounds and is also a very important building block in organic chemistry. It is produced and disposed of naturally in the body as a result of normal metabolic processes. The majority of acetone is produced from propylene in a propylene/benzene reaction. The resulting compound, cumene, is then oxidized to form acetone and phenol. There are other methods for producing acetone and they have proven useful, but have not been as cost effective.

Acetone is miscible with water and is therefore a popular cleaning solvent in both laboratory and industrial applications. It is also used as a nail polish removal, as a paint thinner, and as a sterilizer. Additionally, it is used as the volatile component in many paints and thinners. Because of its strong solvent properties however, care must be taken with its use as it can weaken and dissolve many plastic materials. Furthermore, because acetone vapors are both flammable and toxic and canirritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, adequate controls must be used to prevent exposure. Acetone vapors also cause nervous system depression and can cause liver and kidney damage.Sentry Air Systems offers a variety of ductless fume hoods (including custom hoods) and fume extractors to prevent prolonged exposure to various chemicals such as acetone.

Since acetone is a very commonly used solvent, Sentry Air Systems decided to perform an in-house efficiency test to confirm the ability of the Sentry Air Systems activated carbon filter cartridge to remove acetone vapors from the air stream within a Sentry Air hood. For the test a 99% solution of acetone was placed in an open container inside the SS-330-DCH. In order to determine how well the acetone vapors were absorbed, sampling pumps were used to measure the concentration of the acetone at four specific locations: within the Sentry Air Systems 24″ ductless containment hood, on the outlet of the ductless fume hood, on the operator standing in front of the ductless fume hood, and a spot in the room on the opposite end of the ductless fume hood. An independent lab verified the measurements of the acetone vapor concentration. A second test was performed as a control to compare the acetone vapor concentration in the room without the ductless containment hood running.

1) Sentry Air Systems Model SS-330-DCH was set up with a 10 lb Carbon filter. The 300 Series model fan generates sufficient air flow to keep the average linear face velocity of the hood above 100 feet per minute.

2) A total of 100 ml of acetone was measured into a metal pan and placed under the SS-330-DCH and the acetone evaporated for 1 minute before the sampling pumps were turned on. The hood was placed in operation at over 100 fpm and subsequently all the sampling pumps were switched on and their respective flow rates. The pumps ran for an additional 15 minutes while evaporation was taking place. The sorbent tubes were placed in their respective locations in the laboratory (as stated above). The air volume rate of the pump inside the hood was set to 50ml/min. The three remaining pumps were set to 200 ml/min. The test commenced at the switching on of the sampling pumps and proceeded for 30 minutes, during which time the acetone evaporated from its beaker.

3) After the 15 minute sampling period, the sorbent tubes were removed from the sampling pumps, capped and labeled.

4) Before starting the control test, the testing room was allowed to air out. The sampling pumps were then placed in their respective locations with fresh sorbent tubes. 100 mL of acetone was then placed in a pan under the SS-330-DCH and allowed to evaporate for 1 minute before the sampling pumps were switched on. Then, the pumps continued to run for an additional 15 minutes. Two measurements were taken: one at the breathing zone of the operator and the ambient air. The air was not filtered on this run.

5) After the 15 minute time period, the sorbent tubes were removed from the sampling pumps, capped and labeled. The samples were sent to an independent laboratory (HIH Laboratory) for results.

6) Results were analyzed to determine filter efficiency.


The sorbent tubes were analyzed by HIH Laboratory and the results were reported in the following table:


The results from the independent lab show that the concentration of acetone vapors in the airstream were reduced by more than 99% at the hood outlet and in the ambient air and by over 98% at the operator’s breathing zone. These results contrast to a natural reduction neither fan nor filter present) in acetone concentration of only about 8% at the operator’s breathing zone. The results from the control experiment show that the concentration of acetone will build up quickly around the room and in particular at the operator’s breathing zone. Conversely, the results from the experiment show that the SS-330-DCH filter system basically eliminated any exposure that the operator had to the fumes during this 30 min period. Furthermore, had the test been significantly extended, it follows that because the concentrations were still building up in the room that the operator would have likely been exposed greater than 170 ppm of acetone vapor, whereas, the hood and filter would have prevented this exposure. Under the conditions present on the date of this test, the Sentry Air Systems ductless hood created a safe working environment similar to what NIOSH requires for the operator and eliminated 98% of acetone vapors from the airstream.

For additional information, please contact Sentry Air Systems, Inc.

Tel: 800-799-4609, or e-mail us at