Vacuum and Cryogen Safety

Vacuum and Cryogen Safety

Course Objectives

  • Discuss common hazards associated with vacuum systems, their associated pressure systems, and a variety of associated hazards such as brittle material concerns, electrical safety issues, etc.
  • Identify the potential for accidental overpressure of the vacuum system and discuss the concerns associated with pressurized sources of process and backfill gases typical of vacuum applications. 
  • Learn about the limitations and safety concerns associated with vacuum purging of associated pressure systems. 
  • Discuss the hazards of cryogenic fluids and cryogenic fluid handling components commonly associated with vacuum applications.
  • Propose a variety of hazard mitigation techniques and good practices applicable to the above hazards.
  • Share common accident scenarios and lessons learned related to the fields of vacuum and associated pressure components and cryogenic fluids. 

Course Description

Vacuum systems can present a variety of hazards to the laboratory worker.  This course will provide an in-depth discussion of a wide variety of hazards and mitigation techniques related to vacuum systems.  A thorough discussion of the interface between the vacuum system and commonly associated pressure sources will be provided.  Potential accidental overpressure of the vacuum system will be emphasized as well as safety concerns for the use of brittle materials in vacuum applications.  Some ancillary hazards commonly associated with vacuum applications such as electrical and mechanical concerns will also be discussed.  Many vacuum processes involve the use of cryogenic liquids – and nearly all cryogenic fluid applications involve the use of vacuum.  Therefore, cryogenic fluid properties and hazards as well as mitigation techniques will be discussed.  The primary focus of this segment of the course will be on liquid nitrogen and liquid helium applications.  A wide variety of hazards will be discussed including the highlighted hazards of pressure build up from the warming of trapped cryogens and asphyxiation concerns.  The features and safety concerns of cryogenic liquid Dewars will also be illustrated.  Open discussion will be encouraged throughout the course and lessons learned from accident scenarios will be included where applicable.  Overlap of information from existing AVS courses, such as Vacuum Vessel Engineering and Pumping Hazardous Gases has been minimized.  

Course Materials

Course Notes

Course Cost: $790

Who should attend?

Personnel involved in the design, operation, or maintenance of vacuum systems or the commonly associated pressure and cryogenic liquid equipment.


Roger Shrouf
Consultant/Retired Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)