Humidity chambers are the environmental test chambers designed specifically to replicate conditions of varying humidity in a controlled environment. Humidity testing is undertaken for the purposes of evaluating products, materials and components in response to differing conditions of water vapor or moisture present in the environment.
Industries such as aerospace, military, automotive, medical and construction use humidity chambers in the testing of their products and materials due to the capability of moisture to drastically alter elements. Corrosion, warping, biological growth and cracking are all conditions that could result from the exposure of a product or material to extremes of humidity. Therefore, it is imperative that manufacturers comprehensively test their products for the environmental conditions they will encounter during their lifespan in order to reveal these potential flaws or malfunctions. These test results allow engineers to rethink product design and manufacturing in order to produce the most reliable and cost-effective solutions for their target market. This is especially beneficial to manufacturers whose products come under guarantee or warranty because a product that has already been tested and improved is less likely to result in high reimbursement charges for the manufacturer. While high humidity is most commonly the cause of damage, in areas of low humidity, it is likely that products intended for an outdoor environment will be exposed to greater amounts of dust and/or sand and therefore it might be conscientious of a manufacturer to undergo environmental tests for those conditions too.
Air moisture content ratio, or relative humidity, can be replicated in humidity chambers ranging from 10-100%. The design and construction of the humidity chambers have to be carefully considered as the manufacturer's decisions rely on the validity of the test results. As it is a process test, chambers typically have a means of viewing and monitoring the testing procedure either through a viewing hole, or through a video feed in order to record the progressive effects of the process. Test chambers can range from simple, smaller bench top chambers that can be used to test a small component, to more complex walk-in test chambers, and even drive-in chambers for vehicles and aircraft. As products, materials and components are likely to come into contact with numerous different environmental conditions, environmental test chambers are often constructed with the ability to test a combination of environmental effects. Temperature and altitude are often combined with humidity testing because of the likelihood of the existence of these effects in nature.
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