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The applications of environmental test chambers

May. 16, 2018

Environmental test chambers can be used to test products for the following  industry sectors: automotive, building materials, chemicals, electronics,  timber, cosmetics, plastics, aerospace, metal, pharmaceuticals, tobacco,  textile, packaging industry, biotechnology, bio-tissue engineering, ceramics,  human and veterinary medicine, food and beverage, microbiology, surface  technology, and plant and insect growth.

1. In the case of pharmaceutics, food, and cosmetics, climatic simulation  test chamber monitoring are necessary to comply with rules established by  international regulatory agencies. Environmental test chambers can measure and  control humidity, temperature (mean kinetic temperature, for instance),  differential pressure, particle counts, lighting, and gas levels, among others.  Advanced aging studies within test chambers help to determine safe shelf-life  levels and use-by dates.

2. In biology and microbiology, environmental test chambers can be used to  monitor the effects of light, humidity and other factors on the growth of  plants, algae, viruses, insects and small animals (such as the Drosophila,  otherwise known as fruit flies). They enable the culture of cells, organs and  tissues, as well as plant growth and insect rearing.

3. The aerospace industry relies on environmental test chambers to produce  vacuum, thermal vacuum and thermal experiments that replicate outer-space  conditions so that space system hardware can withstand extreme conditions of  pressure and climate. Even portable life support systems for astronauts are  tested using environmental test chambers. High pressure oxygen systems,  cryogenics equipment and other instrumentation are utilized to test effects of  reduced pressure and altitude conditions.

4. In the automotive industry, environmental test chambers are used to  simulate conditions such as hot roads and extreme exposure to sunlight. All car  manufacturers perform these tests, most of which use drive-in chambers located  within the companies’ testing facilities. They reproduce real-world conditions,  including normal humidity levels, wind speed, road and air temperatures, as well  as extreme conditions, to check the cars’ performance. A dynamometer operates  the cars remotely by spinning the wheels and revving the engine as needed.  Drive-in vehicle chambers are air-tight and resist contraction and  expansion.

5. Research studies have involved tobacco testing in environmental test  chambers. These tests measure the effects of the air pollutants released by  tobacco products. Medical studies are frequently performed to determine possible  effects of toxic by-products.

6. Aside from complex research protocol used by universities, quarantine  bureaus, large manufacturers and research institutions, environmental testing  ultimately addresses the quality control inspection of every-day products like  electrical appliances, batteries, plastics, paper products, and food.

Most of the products currently available to consumers are taken at face  value, with little consideration for the arduous testing that they underwent in  order to become commercially available to the end user. This is a testimony to  the role that environmental test chambers play in developing and appraising the  features and performance of marketable products. They have played a large role  in advancing technology to current levels, while ensuring the safety and  reliability of the products we use every day.