VOC detection technology: University of Nottingham School of Chemistry

For the chemists and students working hard to make scientific discoveries and improvements for the future, it’s vital that their labs and work areas are safe and free from potentially harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Shawcity supplied ION Science’s leading handheld VOC gas detector, the Tiger, to help monitor air quality at the University of Nottingham School of Chemistry GSK Centre for Sustainable Chemistry.

Preventing exposure and ensuring VOC levels do not reach dangerous concentrations in these areas is essential for the safety of those working, and to ensure minimal interference with projects and experiments. There are also other factors to consider, such as shared communal spaces in buildings (like corridors or common rooms) potentially being impacted by high levels of VOCs. Depending on the volume and type of VOC, the consequences could range from mildly annoying conditions to more serious health affects long-term.

In a university science department, where buildings may have been converted or retrofitted to their current purpose, and therefore lack modern ventilation systems, having additional safeguards in place to monitor air quality and VOC concentrations is essential for safety. The University of Nottingham School of Chemistry had received some complaints about strong chemical smells in their labs, but the team also wanted to introduce additional safety measures in the event of ventilation systems being down, accidents, leaks or other potential hazardous incidents.


To accurately evaluate VOC levels and identify the risks or hazards present in the lab, the team wanted to find a handheld device that could monitor VOC concentration and air quality. It needed to be simple in its readouts, reliable and suitable for use in multiple labs, as well as different areas, such as within fume hoods. With technical support from the team at Shawcity, the Tiger was selected as it met all these requirements and more.

As the first VOC detector used by The University of Nottingham School of Chemistry, one of the key factors when deciding to purchase was the ease of use for the Tiger as well as the extensive technical support offered by Shawcity. A spokesperson for the university said:

Our building contains a series of chemistry research laboratories where groups work on diverse projects based around green and sustainable chemistry themes; we make catalysts, invent new reactions, new battery technology and new solar cells. 

‘We use a lot of different organic solvents, many of which are volatile and require LEVs (local exhaust ventilation) to manage those vapours. We use the Tiger to check that our vented cupboards, extraction arms, vented enclosures and fume hoods are doing what they are meant to effectively, which is containing those VOCs. 

‘The Tiger is very useful in the lab for both routine inspections of air quality and equipment functionality, as well as for use in emergencies when ventilation equipment has gone down. We are extremely pleased with the product and Shawcity have been helpful throughout the process.’

Shawcity is pleased to be supporting the science and technology achievements of tomorrow with industry-leading VOC detection today. To find out more about the Tiger, please see our Tiger range below.

From £2,783.75
From £2,079.00
From £2,545.00

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