They are controlled and managed environments that are used in testing the stability, practicality, and endurance of:
The basic design of test chambers is usually a controlled enclosure that emulates similar conditions to the environment that the object will encounter during use.
They can also be programmed to test extreme conditions such as:
- Atmospheric pressure
The test chambers can also be designed to test the limits of an object through repetitive forces such as vibration, compression, and destructive impacts. There is a burst test, where the measurement is taken at the point where the item breaks to mark its endurance point under pressure. The test chamber is also used for:
- Standalone testing that is done for different objects.
- Preparing an object for further testing.
Factors Considered When Designing a Test Chamber.
- The size will depend on the product type tested. If the object tested is a plane, the test chambers should be big enough to fit the whole plane.
- Test chambers need controllers to monitor the tests conducted on the objects. While connected to computers to collect relevant data, the chamber’s setup is mostly dictated by what the customer needs. Some may work a more temperature centric chamber, while others would prefer a pressure centric chamber.
- Automation is also considered in the design of the test chambers. Most customers would opt to have the chamber produce multiple scenarios in succession where the data is then collected for all the processes saving time.
- Photostability is the use of different spectra of light to simulate degradation under the sun over time. This will depend on the object tested and the desired output where objects can be tested on their longevity. The most common use is for testing color fading for objects and rates of degradation after exposure to UV light.
Types of tests done in the Test chambers
Prototypes of objects are subjected to tests during the research and development phase. The prototypes will be subjected to a variety of climatic conditions simulating normal weather patterns. This is the point where defects are detected, and the appropriate correction is noted.
The types of tests include:
- Temperature test – is the most used stress test on objects to test expansion and contraction. The rates of temperature used will always depend on the object and the intention of the test.
- Humidity test – this is an environmental stressor where tests for moisture, humidity oxidation, and corrosion are tested on the object. It normally checks if the inner workings in different types of environments.
- The accelerated aging test – is the use of conditions that will simulate a sped-up aging process to objects. This is used on new products to test out shelf life before going bad. The test will use humidity, temperature, and vibrations to test out longevity.
- Agree test – this test is used to simulate shipping conditions to test product conditions during shipping. It is a combination of humidity and vibration testing with temperature variations for simulation of day and night.
- Thermal shock test– is used in verification of the reliability of products in rapid temperature changes. This is used to find out cracking in the object, determining the strength of binding molecules of the object.
- Moisture test – this is simulation mimics rain and rainy conditions. They use water spray testing with self-recirculation testing. Water is continuously sprayed in the object as the test goes on over a period of time.
- Altitude test – this will use varied pressure and temperature levels as measurements are done. This is normally done on electronics and vehicles to which it can be determined if they can work at optimum conditions in different locations.
- Cyclic corrosion test– this test accelerates corrosion rates and is commonly used in the vehicle industry. Objects may be subjected to repeated submerging and drying while facing multiple exposure tests.
- Salt spray test – is a form of accelerated corrosion test but instead of water, it uses saltwater constantly being sprayed on the object, which accelerates the process of rusting.
- Climatic test– is a process of having numerous setups, each having a simulation of a specific weather type. This is done to test the reliability of a product.
- Sand and dust test– this test allows dust and sand movement around the product at relatively high speeds in the chambers.
- Vacuum test – is a test done on equipment that will be used in space. This is also used when testing if objects can use vacuum drying and coating.
Applications of test chambers in industries
Test chambers are used in the study of products. They offer convenient and economical methods to study products during the development and production stages. Test chambers are involved in manufacturing industries ensuring good levels of quality.
- Vehicle industry – this gives carmakers a place to recreate all conditions that there are expected to face in the real world. This can be used to determine the level of resilience of the materials used in car development.
- Aerospace industry – since their products are expensive to develop and transport, the tests are done to ensure the products can work before being transported to outer space.
- Pharmaceutical industry – testing is used to find out the length of shelf life and the expiry date of medicine developed. Since the industry has strict rules, production methods are controlled and routine testing is required.
- The battery industry – is used in testing vulnerability while at the same time trying to ensure quality. This is to have a system that allows the perfect functioning of the batteries.