Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST)

New ISO draft standard classifies surface particle cleanliness

With today’s rapid technological progress and miniaturization, clean surfaces are of growing interest and vital importance for many high-tech industries and applications.The International Organization for Standardization Technical  Committee (ISO/TC) 209 is taking steps to fill the need for global standards addressing surface contamination.

Since its inception in 1993, ISO/TC 209 has produced 10 Standards covering airborne particle contamination: Parts 1 through 8 of ISO 14644: Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments, and Parts 1 and 2 of ISO 14698: Biocontamination control. In 2003, TC 209 resolved to expand its charter to include Standards covering surface contamination and established Working Group (WG) 9, “Clean surfaces.” The WG identified three categories of surface contamination to be considered for Standards: physical (particle), chemical (molecular), and biological. The first of these potential documents, ISO/CD 14644-9: Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments — Part 9: classification of surface particle cleanliness, has reached the Committee Draft (CD) stage. This document presents a classification system for the determination and designation of cleanliness levels based on surface particle concentrations, and also lists test methods and procedures for determining particle concentration on surfaces.

ISO/CD 14644-9 was sent out for international balloting in June with a voting deadline of September 21, 2007. Depending on the time it takes to process the technical and editorial comments and produce the three required language versions, a Draft International Standard (DIS) might be available to the industry as early as Spring 2008. The following question-and-answer is based on information provided by Werner Straub, Convener of WG 9; Christine Montigny, Secretariat of WG 9; and Egon Hollaender, Convener of WGs 1 and 6 and a WG 9 member and special adviser, who was instrumental in persuading TC 209 to address surface contamination.

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