Temperature chambers are a common type of environmental test chamber that are used widely in industries like food processing, automotives, construction, medical services and consumer goods and services.
Quick links to Temperature Chambers Information
Purpose of Temperature Chambers
Generally, temperature chambers exist to simulate any number of temperature changes and extremes, such as a rapid temperature drop, that a product could encounter in its intended environment and gauge and evaluate its response to these. In doing so, manufacturers can test and/or verify the lifespan and stability of a product during the early stages of production, thereby ensuring that a product is functioning at the highest quality possible before it reaches its targeted consumer market. Temperature chambers may also be used as storage containers for materials that are highly sensitive to temperature changes. This practice is especially common in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
Temperature Chambers Design
As we know, the goal of test chambers, in general, is to accurately predict the response of a product to an environment and allow the manufacturer, if potential malfunctions or flaws are discovered, to correct its response. For this reason, the environment created in a temperature chamber must be as close to a product’s true intended environment as possible.
Every aspect of chamber construction, the test(s) conducted and the testing environment must be thoughtfully considered. This necessity has led to the opening up of a wide variety of options regarding the sizes, designs and exact temperature variations of temperature chambers. For instance, existing temperature is closely related to relative humidity. Therefore, many temperature chambers create environments that combine the effects of both temperature and humidity. One such temperature chamber is the well-known AGREE chamber. Originally designed for the testing of military equipment, AGREE chambers are named after the acronym that stands for the Advisory Group on Reliability of Electronic Equipment, a US Department of Defense organization. Today, AGREE chambers serve a variety of industries. They have removable floors and combine temperature and humidity testing with vibration testing. They are capable of producing very fast extreme temperature changes, even with large loads.
Types of Temperature Chambers
One type of temperature chamber that focuses on air circulation is the thermal cycling chamber, also called a stress screening chamber. Thermal cycling chambers subject a product to extreme temperature changes within a single chamber, wherein these chambers are cyclic; the temperature alternates between hot and cold for a predetermined number of cycles. Operators must also account for the existing climate. Some temperature chambers replicate climates and environments with extremely low temperatures. This is the case with cryogenic chambers. In addition, the addition of interior chamber lighting will create extra heat for which operators must account. A correct calculation of and adjustment to accommodate the temperature change created by the heat of lighting is, again, essential for accuracy. To give you an idea of the size range of temperature chambers, note that some chambers contain only a compact desktop, while others are large enough to drive in. In between these are mid-sized temperature chambers, like walk-in chambers. Another variable aspect of test chambers is the method by which test results are processed and recorded. Usually, they gather readings using electronic sensors, which generally collect and relay the most accurate readings.
Things to Consider When Choosing Temperature Chambers
A manufacturer must carefully consider the impact of air distribution and the addition interior chamber lighting will have on an enclosed environment. For example, how air is moved within the sealed chamber will impact whether or not the chamber establishes a uniform temperature pattern; whether or not a temperature chamber establishes a uniform temperature pattern will determine whether or not it is an accurate tester.
There are only two constants of temperature chambers. The first is their temperature range, the second is the fact that, no matter the specifics of testing and the processes undertaken, temperature chambers almost always provide an improved product. The purchase and use of temperature chambers may prove to be time-consuming and somewhat costly, but rest assured that the investment is well worth the cost; their long-term expenditures and future benefits will quickly outweigh their initial expense. Temperature chambers catch problems before they start, reducing the likelihood of costly recalls and repairs, and they help create credibility by ensuring a manufacturer’s or company’s product can be trusted.
Variations of Temperature Chambers
Other types of common environmental test chambers include altitude chambers, salt spray chambers, pressure chambers, vacuum chambers, humidity chambers and universal testing machines.