Environmental Testing in the Automotive Market

Posted: Jan 16, 2020

Today’s cars and trucks are tough, but the extreme temperatures, humidity, and use environments can be tougher. The environment can push automotive components to their failure, which puts drivers and passengers at risk. Environmental testing is used in the automotive industry to ensure that vehicles can weather the storm of conditions they may encounter.

Environmental test chambers simulate various conditions and stressors that automotive components will likely endure some time in their lifetime. Testing helps manufacturers determine if they need to make any changes to the design or composition of an automotive component which in turn decreases warranty costs associated with recalls. To increase reliability in automotive parts, automotive manufacturers require that almost every component in a modern vehicle is subjected to environmental stress at some point of its design and qualification.  Some of the assemblies tested in chambers include electronics, airbags, engine parts, frame and suspension components, glass and interior systems and batteries.

Common Materials that Require Environmental Testing in the Automotive Industry

Metal, rubber, and plastics are three common materials used in various combinations to produce modern automotive components. Because of the varying thermal properties of each component, they are tested in an environmental chamber to ensure form, fit and function.

Metal

Extreme environmental conditions can warp and rust metal, and increase brittleness, which puts automotive components at higher risk of product failure. Environmental testing chambers subject metal parts to these environmental extremes.

Rubber

Automotive manufacturers use rubber in a number of places on a vehicle, including the tires, seals. gaskets, belts, and hoses. The rubber they use must be durable and flexible enough to withstand the rigors of being a part of a functioning vehicle. Environmental chambers allow manufacturers to test rubber components for changes or deterioration under a range of temperature and humidity levels.

Plastics

A variety of basic plastics and polymers are used in automobile components. In fact, about one-third of the 30,000 parts in a vehicle are plastic. Many automotive manufacturers are also turning to eco-friendly, biodegradable plastics. Bioplastics are finding their way into vehicle interiors, undercarriages, and even under the hood. No matter the type of plastic, the parts need to go through environmental testing.

Tenney test chambers meet the automotive industry’s temperature, humidity, altitude, and vacuum-testing requirements. Tenney’s comprehensive line of standard and custom environmental-testing chambers and walk-in rooms are known for their innovative engineering and design, robust construction, and superior performance. To learn more visit www.tenney.com.