What is a Humidity Chamber?

Looking to stress-test your product and its materials in an extreme environment? Instead of traveling to one, you can use a humidity test chamber to simulate similar conditions.

What is a humidity chamber?

A humidity chamber — also known as a temperature humidity chamber or climate chamber — is a type of environmental test chamber. They're used for quality assurance to stress-test various products and materials. This determines their longevity by simulating different levels of temperature and humidity.

Testing humidity is important because changing moisture conditions cause materials to contract or expand, which can damage them. Humidity chambers are used by a large variety of industries, from automotive to electronics to medicine.

These units simulate extremely harsh environments to ensure the tested products can withstand such conditions. After failure analysis, engineers analyze the data to decide what materials to use when making an item.

How does a humidity chamber work?

A temperature humidity test chamber is usually customized for a customer's needs based on what high or low temperature and moisture condition(s) they want to simulate.

These devices often use a bath or spray to simulate humidity, whereas air temperature heating is typically controlled with coils.

There are four common ways to simulate natural humidity:

Atomizer test chamber

This type of humidity chamber uses atomized water to create moisture. A nozzle within the chamber sprays the water through the temperature-heating device, vaporizing the water and forming humidity. The simplicity of these models can make them highly attractive to consumers, as does their capacity for simulating especially high levels of water in the air.

Steam generators

With steam generators, a tank of water generates steam with immersion heating that controls the temperature of the water in the chamber. This type of unit can create an especially high temperature, typically between 300 and 1300. Like an atomizer test chamber, they're useful when companies want to test extremely severe conditions.

AGREE test chamber

Largely used for military electronics, AGREE stands for Advisory Group on Reliability of Electronic Equipment. What makes AGREE chambers different from other types of units is their unique ability to perform vibration, temperature and humidity testing simultaneously.

Water baths

These are basically modified steam generators, as they work on the same basic principles. However, they don't utilize a box. Because these use comparably smaller amounts of water that don't need to be boiled, they produce faster results than other types of chambers.

Is a humidity test chamber the same as a stability chamber?

On paper, a humidity chamber and a stability chamber are very similar in purpose: Both are types of environmental chambers that simulate humidity and temperature and their effects on a product.

However, they do have significant differences and applications. For example, a humidity chamber is less specific than a stability chamber. The latter measures temperature and moisture at various points in the chamber, whereas the former records these uniformly throughout the entire unit.

This regional accuracy can be especially useful when companies test pharmaceutical products. If a drug has structural issues in a particular location in the stability chamber, that exact point can be measured and recorded.

A humidity chamber is thus better suited when a tester wants to see an entire product measured, such as a metal, whereas a stability chamber is better for more precise applications.

How accurate is a humidity chamber?

A humidity chamber's accuracy depends on the quality of its temperature and humidity sensors and how well it's calibrated. If improperly configured or of poor quality, accuracy can vary significantly. However, it should be able to maintain its temperature range within a half-degree Celsius and its relative humidity control within 2%.

Do temperature and humidity chambers have any limitations?

While temperature and humidity chambers can be very competent at simulating specific environmental conditions, they are not perfect substitutes for real-world environmental testing. Only exposure to a truly natural environment can provide perfectly accurate results.

The humidity chamber can find out what your products should be made of

With a competent tester and a high-quality humidity chamber, you can easily garner insights into the durability and longevity of your products and their material.

At Auto Tech, we have experienced professionals using top-quality humidity chambers we built from the ground up. Contact us today if you want to learn more about what your products should be made of.

Humidity chambers are used in a variety of ways. But why would you need one?