Climatic chamber is an enclosure used to test the effects of specified environmental conditions on biological items, industrial products, materials, and electronic devices and components.
These chambers can be used:
- as a stand-alone test for environmental effects on test specimens
- as preparation of test specimens for further physical tests or chemical tests
- as environmental conditions for conducting testing of specimens
An environmental test chamber or Climatic chamber artificially replicates conditions which machinery, materials, devices, or components might be exposed to. It is also used to accelerate the effects of exposure to the environment, sometimes at conditions not actually expected.
Chamber testing involves testing and exposing products to various environmental conditions in a controlled setting. Climatic Chamber testing and Thermal Shock testing are part of chamber testing. Climatic Chamber testing is a broad category of ways to simulate climate or excessive ambient conditions exposure for a product or a material under laboratory-controlled yet accelerated conditions. On the other hand, Thermal Shock testing is used to simulate how materials will react when exposed to changes in extreme climatic conditions, such as going from extremely cold to extremely hot conditions in a very short period of time.
Major factors include in climatic chambers are,
- extreme temperatures
- sudden and extreme temperature variations – thermal shock
- moisture or relative humidity
- electrodynamic vibrations
- electromagnetic radiation
- Cyclic corrosion testing
- salt spray
- exposure to sun, causing UV degradation
Manufactured samples, specimens, or components are placed inside the chamber and subjected to one or more of these environmental parameters to determine reliability or measure after-effects such as corrosion. In the case of machinery such as internal combustion engines, by products such as emissions are monitored.
An environmental chamber can be a small room used both to condition test specimens and to conduct the test. It can be a smaller unit that is used for conditioning test items. Also, some chambers are small enough to be placed onto a universal testing machine or other test apparatus.
Many chambers are set at a certain set of conditions. Others can be programmed to cycle through specified sequences of conditions.
Types of test Chambers
- Mechanically cooled test chambers
- Liquid nitrogen cooled test chambers
- Modular Walk-in Chambers
There are various test standards and several standards organizations provide standards and guidance on climatic chamber construction, temperature control standards, and engineering tolerances.