Environmental Test Chambers: What are they, and which type is right for you?

The first formal environmental test chamber was invented in 1951 by Charles Conrad when he altered his home freezer to reach temperatures as low as –87°C. And since then, environment chambers have become among the hottest laboratory technologies, evolving with every passing decade to detect potential threats due to faulty equipment, establish baselines for performance, and ensure quality, reliability, durability, and safety.

Today, environmental testing chambers are used by industries that range from the military and aviation to automobiles.

What does an environmental test chamber do?

It creates a managed and controlled environment to test the endurance, stability, and durability of equipment and products. It essentially mimics the effects of environmental conditions such as extreme temperature variations, moist or humid conditions, vibrations, destructive impacts, and radical altitude variances a product or equipment may encounter during usage.

There are several types of environmental test chambers.

1. Temperature testing chambers

These are perhaps the most common testing chambers. Fluctuations in temperature can cause a product to expand or contract. These can test for temperatures that range from as low as around -80° C to more than 250° C.

2. Humidity testing chambers

Moisture or leakage can lead to oxidation and corrosion of a product. They are mainly used in the pharmaceutical industry for drug storage and the electronics industry for circuit board testing.

3. Accelerated age testing chambers

This chamber uses atmospheric conditions to determine how long a product will last. It is mainly used with new products that have not been through the normal aging process and combines temperature and humidity testing with vibration testing.

4. Altitude testing chambers

They measure the adaptability and reliability of a sample under low pressure, high temperature, and high altitude. They are mainly used to test vehicles, computers, and electronic components for air transport.

5. Cyclic corrosion testing chambers

These are used in the auto industry to accelerate the corrosion process. Here, materials are submerged, dried off, or sprayed.

6. Climatic testing chambers

This controlled setting determines the reliability and longevity of a product using all types of weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, corrosion, and sand and dust.

7. Mechanical test chambers

These perform tests for hardness, shock, vibration, impact, fracture, and fatigue.

8. Pressure test chambers

They simulate static and changing pressures at high altitudes and ocean depths. Here, pressures can sometimes reach as high as 60,000 psi or be reduced to a vacuum.

And last but not least…

9. Walk-in test chambers

These are large enough for a person to walk into and are among the most accurate chambers in use today. They vary in size and can complete a full range of tests, from thermal shock and salt spray to humidity and temperature variances. These can be customized to match application needs and are used in industries from appliance testing and electrical to medical research and electronics. Take, for instance, the state-of-the-art Tenney walk-in test chamber, which features automated process control, and energy efficiency. Tenney environmental rooms are used worldwide for many testing applications and can be customized to meet industry-specific requirements.

There are several types of testing chambers in the market today and therefore you must choose the right one for your industry. Do check out Blue Star Engineering & Electronics Ltd’s testing chambers or talk to our experts to make the right decision.

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