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Vacuum Testing to Prevent Product Failure – Part 2

Posted: Sep 14, 2018

Changes in air pressure and other environmental fluctuations, such as changes in temperature and humidity, can affect the performance of electronics. Thermal vacuum testing simulates atmospheric conditions, including temperature and altitude, at high altitudes and in space. Vacuum testing mimics these environmental changes to help manufacturers evaluate their long-term effects on essential and non-essential components.

It’s important to test these environmental changes because air does not conduct electricity in the same way that metal does, so air works well as an electric insulating medium in electronic devices. The insulating properties of air are ideal at sea level, but it begins to lose dielectric strength at higher altitudes. Changes in temperature, pressure, and humidity can affect air’s insulating effects at these altitudes. The loss of insulation puts electronic devices at risk for product failure, which is potentially disastrous at high altitudes. Reduced insulation can also cause high voltage circuitry to arc across tracks, with devastating consequences.

Thermal vacuum chambers, also known as space chambers, help manufacturers meet stringent testing requirements, such as RTCA DO-160 and Mil-STD-810. RTCA DO-160 which is a document by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) that specifies test conditions for evaluating electronic hardware used in airborne systems. Mil-STD-810 is a series of performance and manufacturing guidelines for military and commercial equipment set by the US Department of Defense.

Tenney Space Chambers are used to simulate the conditions products will meet in higher altitudes and space travel. These thermal vacuum chambers are customized with vacuum systems and controls that meet customers’ testing needs. For more information about Tenney Environmental Space Chambers, please visit our website. For more information like the above, follow Thermal Product Solutions on Facebook and LinkedIn. Be sure to check back next month for our next blog series!