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Rarely do we spend time in the same temperature conditions throughout any given day.

The same could be said for products, materials, and components that have to withstand shifts in environmental conditions. To ensure electronic devices perform as they’re supposed to amid these shifts, they must be tested in thermal shock chambers beforehand. 

Thermal shock testing simulates the extreme temperature changes a product might be exposed to during real-life use in the hands of customers. For example, think of the jolt a smartphone battery experiences when somebody moves between cold winter conditions outside to the heated space of a home. 

Or the contrast in temperatures airplane parts must endure, departing an airport runway in 95-degree weather and then encountering -40°F to -70°F when reaching peak altitude. 

Thermal shock chambers are the means through which alternating extreme hot and cold air is applied to products to test their durability and identify breaking points. The method reduces the potential for failures. These chambers feature two zones, one for heat, one for cold, with an optional third zone for ambient temperature. 

Associated Environmental Systems (AES) manufactures industry-leading thermal shock chambers to empower businesses who need to guarantee their products can withstand rapid changes in temperature. Used often for the testing of electronic components in automotive, aerospace, and defense industries, the SM Series test chambers have led to innovations as well delivered peace of mind for companies and consumers alike. 

Every aspect of the SM Series is optimized for you to get the most out of your thermal testing. Read more here. 


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The exterior chamber construction includes a powder-coat finish over heavy-gauge steel and type 304 stainless steel on the inside. Sandwiched between is a layer of highly-efficient, low K-factor, thermal insulation for the highest efficiency and temperature performance. 

The SM Series features two zones.To achieve the rapid change in temperature, your product sits in a pneumatically controlled basket that travels vertically between the two zones within seconds. (An optional third zone for ambient temperature can be added; see below the video). 

Each compartment holds your desired temperature with a heated zone and a cold zone. The specially designed basket is a traveling workspace with its own sensor so you can monitor the environmental condition in each zone, the temperature of the specimen, and its recovery time. 

When you need to cool your specimen even faster, an optional liquid LN2 or CO2 boost can be added. 

A third zone can be joined between the hot and cold for ambient temperature exposure. 

Cooling differences between 2900 models and 9100 models should be noted.

  • 2900 models are cooled with a cascade mechanical refrigeration system. An LN2 boost option can be added to cool even faster.
  • 1900 models use liquid nitrogen to reach cold temperatures. There is no mechanical refrigeration.

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The SM Series thermal shock chambers have incorporated AESONE CONNECT, creating a robust connected device for a standard and uniform interface that makes test chamber operation easier.

AESONE XCHANGE is hardware internal to the chamber that increases your functionality:

  • Connects the test chamber controller to your network for increased accessibility
  • On-board multi-year data logging

AESONE SOFTWARE gives you the power to

  • Remote monitor and operate test chambers 
  • Create web-based test profiles
  • View current data and historical data visually
  • Secure multi-level user access 

Additional Onboard Instrumentation

The WATLOW F4T programmable controller features a 4.3” capacitive touchscreen minimizing the chances for error. Ethernet communication is also supported by AESONE HARDWARE.


A temperature sensor measures at the point of airflow entering the workspace: class A, 3-wire, 100 ohm platinum RTD sensor.

An additional relative humidity sensor measures at the point of airflow entering the workspace. The speed of airflow does not affect its measurement. This sensor is highly accurate between 10-95% RH, over the entire temperature operating range of -70°C to +180°C (-94°F to +356°F).

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AES heating systems are all-electric. They work by passing air over fast-response, low-watt-density resistance heaters with a ceramic core, ensuring a long reliable life with no downtime.

The combination of airflow, instrument response, and these fast-reacting heaters give highly accurate and straight-line control of temperatures. AES’s heating systems support temperatures upwards of 180°C (356°F), and heaters may be controlled independently or in unison.

Heating systems are located in a plenum so that test items are not subject to direct radiation. 


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Thermal shock chambers are designed to get you testing as soon as possible, with fast change rates. The SM Series has an average pull-down rate of 2.5°C/ minute and an average ramp rate of 4.4°C/ minute.

The chambers feature liquid-cooling. This method is power-efficient and takes up a smaller area than an air-cooled options. Keep in mind that liquid-cooled chambers require a water supply. 

You can reach temperatures as low as -70ºC with a standard SM Series chamber, although there are ways to go even colder. 

Liquid nitrogen (LN2) and carbon dioxide (C02) boost options are available. While CO2 has a boiling point of -57°C (-70.6°F) and can be stored in smaller amounts, LN2 has a boiling point of -196°C (-320.8°F). Therefore, liquid nitrogen provides pull-down rates that are much faster.


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The SM Series is designed to meet the following United States Department of Defense military standards:

The SM Series test chamber can achieve all of the tests required under these two conditions.

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Associated Environmental Systems is committed to long-term, responsive relationships with our customers. Looking to purchase a new chamber? Have questions about service, support, or retrofitting an existing chamber? 

Don't hesitate to contact us with your questions or challenges.