Products undergo a series of rigorous tests to ensure their safety and performance prior to heading to market. One of these tests is temperature cycling.
Effective temperature cycling testing is a primary means of limiting liabilities and delivering reliable, quality products to consumers. Cycling helps you avoid unforeseen mechanical or manufacturing failures.
Here’s an overview of temperature cycling and the features common to the best temperature chambers available today.
What Is Temperature Cycling?
Put simply, temperature cycling, also known as thermocycling, subjects products, materials, or components to alternating high and low temperatures to determine their durability and breaking points.
These repeated temperature changes simulate the normal use conditions a device under testing (DUT) is likely to encounter in the real world. Temperature cycling aims to catch early-term defects, such as breaking, cracking, seal failure, short-circuiting, warpage, and debonding. Mechanical failures caused by thermocycling are sometimes referred to as fatigue failure.
Temperature cycling is similar to thermal shock testing. The primary difference between the two is found in how rapid those temperature changes happen. Shock testing exposes devices to opposite, extreme temperatures immediately while temperature cycling is more gradual.
In cycling, a DUT may soak in a test chamber for hours at a specific temperature before it swiftly drops to another lower temperature level. Then it’s ramped up again–cycle and repeat. While manufacturers have their own tests depending on what products they’re building, tests are run until DUT samples pass all evaluations.
Temperature cycling is routinely used to evaluate product reliability in electronics and electrical components, including batteries, navigation systems, vehicles, medical devices, semiconductors, and airplanes—anything that needs to withstand the environmental conditions we live in.
The best temperature chambers ensure the performance, functionality, and safety of your products. These are the features you should look for.
Features of the Best Temperature Cycling Test Chambers
There are a few features you’ll want to focus on when looking for a premium temperature cycling chamber. Keep in mind that not all chambers are optimized for cycling. Stability chambers, for example, enable you to conduct steady-state testing but don’t have the necessary power components to shift temperatures quickly.
Prioritize these five characteristics that guarantee performance, ensure accuracy, and give you control over your temperature cycling. That way, you’ll get results you and your customers can trust.
- A powerful compressor is central to a capable temperature cycling chamber. These enable chambers to quickly change the temperature within a workspace.
- Performance temperature chambers typically have a range from -70°C to 180°C (-94°F to 356°F). It’s common for the circulation system to rely on a baffle and fan design combination. This helps optimize for temperature (and humidity) conditions within your chamber workspace.
- The heating systems are fashioned with open ceramic-core nichrome heaters, giving your chambers a reliable and accurate way to control the temperature within ±0.5°C.
- On the other hand, its cooling system provides a few options. A standard chamber features a self-contained mechanical refrigeration system with cascading effect and an air-cooling condenser. Additional options include boost cooling with liquid nitrogen (LN2) or carbon dioxide (CO2) for even faster pulldown rates.
- Another important aspect of temperature chambers for cycling is remote monitoring. If you leave a device soaking for hours, you can step away from the lab and still check in on the test through technology like AESONE CONNECT. You can also stop tests as soon as errors are detected.
Lastly, the best temperature cycling chamber for you will match your specific testing standards, which will vary depending on the nature of your product.
That’s a conversation to have with a trusted manufacturer.
AES’s FD and HD Series: Four Ramp-Up & Pull-Down Rates To Choose From
Associated Environmental Systems has a full line of temperature and humidity chambers for cycling. Chambers in the FD and HD Series come standard with four performance levels to choose from. Get the change rates you require without waiting for a custom chamber to optimize your cycling.
The variety of performance ranges encompass models 18 cubic feet up to 96 cubic feet:
|Four Performance Levels:||Refrigeration Horsepower Available:|
|Thrust - Up to 3.89°C/minute||4HP|
|Impulse - 4°C to 6.49°C/minute||7.5HP|
|Warp - 6.5°C to 8.9°C/minute||12HP|
|Hyperdrive - 9°C/minute and higher||17HP|
The change rates may vary by chamber size, DUTs, and the ambient conditions of your lab.
Regardless of what temperature chamber you leverage, cycling requires precision. Practice regular maintenance to keep your chambers in top shape. Calibrate them every six months. And keep a trusted manufacturer in close communication.
Associated Environmental Systems produces a full array of temperature-only and temperature and humidity chambers, capable of temperature cycling. Browse our inventory or let us know your chamber needs.