2011

Dynamic Monitoring of Cleanroom Fallout Using an Air Particle Counter

The particle fallout limitations and periodic allocations for the James Webb Space Telescope are very stringent. Standard prediction methods are complicated by non-linearity and monitoring methods that are insufficiently responsive. A method for dynamically predicting the particle fallout in a cleanroom using air particle counter data was determined by numerical correlation. This method provides a simple linear correlation to both time and air quality, which can be monitored in real time. The summation of effects provides the program better understanding of the cleanliness and assists in the planning of future activities.

Definition of fallout rates within a cleanroom during assembly and integration of contamination-sensitive hardware,such as the James Webb Space Telescope, is essential for budgeting purposes. Balancing the activity levels for assembly and test with the particle accumulation rate is paramount. The current approach to predicting particle fallout in a cleanroom assumes a constant air quality based on the rated class of a cleanroom, with adjustments for projected work or exposure times. Actual cleanroom class can also depend on the number of personnel present and the type of activities.

A linear correlation of air quality and normalized particle fallout was determined numerically. An air particle counter (standard cleanroom equipment) can be used to monitor the air quality on a real-time basis and determine the “class” of the cleanroom (per FED-STD-209 or ISO-14644). The correlation function provides an area coverage coefficient per class-hour of exposure. The prediction of particle accumulations provides scheduling inputs for activity levels and cleanroom class requirements.

This work was done by Radford Perry of Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-16108-1

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