Environmental Tests

Environmental Tests

Environmental Simulation Tests

Simply put, environmental simulation tests are about preparing products for use in the real world in simulated test environments. This is accomplished by obtaining test experience and performance data as early as possible throughout the life cycle of the products. Simulated environmental testing generally involves creating artificial environments for test items to determine their expected resistance to expected environments.

Environmental Tests

A classic example of environmental simulation testing includes test components for satellites. The components intended to be used in satellites face several repeated changes between extreme temperatures over a 24-hour period. Components can reach temperatures of up to 120 ° C when in direct sunlight.

When they are in the shade, they can cool down to -100 ° C. A satellite orbiting around 14 times a day in the world will experience more than 50.000 thermal cycles between these extremes throughout its lifetime. This cycle between extremes leads to trends such as changing material properties and premature wear of equipment.

The satellites that take the worst form of thermal cycle abuse are solar panels. Solar panels are made of many layers of material and are exposed to direct sunlight. This makes the parts particularly sensitive to thermal stresses. Solar panels are also extremely important parts as they strengthen the satellite, that is, the life of any satellite directly depends on how long solar panels will last during service. The longer a satellite lasts, the more cost-effective to operate.

To estimate the expected lifespan of solar cells (also known as coupons), EUROLAB conducted tests on different solar cells to simulate the temperature cycle that will occur while in orbit. In one of our tests, we placed some solar cells in a room with a nitrogen atmosphere and used a special lamp to heat it. Then heating, we cooled the nitrogen atmosphere quickly to cool the coupons.

This process was repeated quickly several times to simulate approximately 1.5 times the expected thermal cycles over the life of a satellite. Some types of solar cells survived the test, others did not. However, our tests have helped us verify the best candidate materials and exclude that materials that are likely to fail too early in the satellite's life cycle are acceptable.

Environmental testing It seems simple enough in theory, but some real difficulties occur when trying to design products. How can engineers predict how the given product designs will perform before actual service for a certain period of time? Without a carefully planned environmental testing strategy, the design for the operating environment cannot go beyond the estimates.

There is a lot of risk to launch untested or marginally tested products. On the other hand, its time to market is a real concern for companies that want to remain competitive. In other words, companies do not have enough time to build prototypes and test them with their normal use during their normal usage time before placing them on the market. Therefore, better strategies are needed - preferably environmental testing strategies that can reliably and accelerate aging and wear on the test substances are required.

EUROLAB provides assistance to help estimate expected product performance with reasonable confidence. Since simulated test environments try to produce the expected types of stress on products, most of these methods fall into the general simulated environment test category. Such tests attempt to validate or improve product designs and manufacturing processes.

Some environmental simulation testing methods can go far beyond all the environmental conditions expected to survive to prove increased robustness and reliability. Whatever the case, simulated test environments aim to verify that products are ready for customers, making sure they can withstand the intended environments.

What is the Purpose of the Environmental Simulation Test?

There are several good reasons for your company to perform environmental simulation testing, and this is especially important for the overall success of your business. These reasons include:

  • In most cases, testing may be a must. Testing the product according to specific standards and requirements is almost always a requirement to do business. For example, Ministry of Defense contracts require MIL standards compliance testing for any system or sub-system used in our country's defense. Also today, many consumers prefer products that have MIL-STD tests because of their robustness.
  • You definitely need these tests if you want to make yourself stand out in competition. While testing according to MIL-spec standards is not a requirement for your particular market, many consumer electronics and devices are marketed in accordance with military standards, which gives them a different competitive advantage.
  • You should definitely have these tests done to avoid the case. Many cases can be meaningless and clearly unfair. Although very few people are willing to discuss this, lawsuits are a fact of life. However, for a company, the best way to avoid litigation is to be above the capacity containing test products to make sure they meet their specifications. In this way, the probability of setback is low due to defective products - and even if something goes wrong, the company can show that it takes due care in a court and is not responsible for failure.
  • Environmental tests are required for standards. There are cases when environmental tests are not explicitly required to comply with laws or contract requirements. However, manufacturers are required to carry out environmental tests on their products to comply with established standards. Voluntary compliance and certification of the determined standards will increase the marketability and reliability of your products and will provide competitive advantage over manufacturers who do not attempt to test or certify their products.
  • You will need these tests if you want to increase reliability or validate the design. The simulated environment test can reveal many design flaws at the beginning of the design process, so your designers can correct the defects or make improvements. Likewise, environmental testing can reveal manufacturing defects so your company can improve its process and avoid excessive warranty claims.

Some smartphone models are well-known examples where environmental tests can catch a design error. It was known that these phones were twisted and broken because people were used to carrying them in their back pockets. Current new designs are being evaluated for all environments, including the back pocket.

What are the Benefits of Environmental Tests?

Where environmental testing is not required by contracts or laws, the greatest benefits are achieved by increasing product reliability and reducing the risk associated with product development. What about the cost?

When it comes to environmental testing, some costs can be measured, others cannot. Costs that can be quantified are total cost of withdrawal, warranty claims, lost productivity and estimated cost of environmental tests against other losses to which defective products are exposed. These are values ​​that can be measured from the available data. The benefits of environmental testing are based on business dynamics that did not exist before the environmental testing program was implemented, and competitors are unlikely to share any internal data on these issues.

The best way to see if a simulated environmental testing program is financially viable is to see if the estimated test cost is acceptable lower than the total acceptable cost. Simulated environmental tests bring negligible risk to production life cycles and are also likely to reduce overall risk.

In an ideal situation, implementing an environmental testing program would allow a company to reduce product development time and also reduce development costs theoretically. Once a product has been developed, the company must understand the product's life expectancy and be able to reduce the amount of warranty claims due to increased quality. This reduces maintenance and customer support costs. Sales should increase as better products tend to provide greater customer satisfaction. All these benefits provide more profitability for your company.

In order to further strengthen this idea, customers tend to fix negative traits unlike positive traits. And since bad news travels fast, companies must invest to protect their names and reputations. One way to invest in maintaining your company's name and reputation is to invest in continuous product development. To invest in continuous product development, you can consider investing in test types that will provide realistic design verification and facilitate effective quality control.

When you spend your time and money to accurately verify products, your profit status is less likely to be negatively affected by lawsuits, bad reviews, bad press and dissatisfied customers.

How is Simulated Environment Test Performed?

Environmental test engineers have designed many types of tests designed to simulate the types of wear and tear that environments are expected to give to related items for decades. Environmental simulation testing often involves attempts to speed up the wear and tear process to the point where a given test item can experience a full life wear and tear over a few days or weeks. We do exactly that when testing solar cells for satellites.

In the simulated world of environmental testing, our engineers can simulate many types of situations. Below you can see examples of bazo.

Dynamic Test

Dynamic tests include acceleration, vibration, fatigue, shock, falling, etc. It is a broad category that includes testing against conditions. The basic idea is to apply various types of physical stress to see if they can withstand test items. In addition to shaking a pickup truck in a centrifuge, we can simulate stresses in rocket launchers, rapid flight maneuvers, blows, changes in pressure and more. We can even do special tests for special applications. If you have special needs for a particular test, we can work with you to find the ideal solution.

EMC / EMI Test

Over the years, electronic components have become smaller and more susceptible to power outages. Some types of electronic components are also sensitive to other types of radiation. At the same time, electronic components have been used in more security and mission critical applications. Therefore, electrical and electronics engineers should take special care to ensure their designs are resistant to fault and electromagnetic disturbances. At EUROLAB, we routinely test electronic devices to ensure they meet operating standards for their intended environment.

Also, many types of electronic equipment require tests to ensure that they do not emit unwanted amounts of electromagnetic radiation. In this case, the aim is to prevent electronic equipment from interfering with the operation of other nearby electronic equipment. FCC, DoD and other institutions all have relevant standards for such tests.

Materials and Chemical Tests

The best way to see if a material is suitable for its environment is to exaggerate the environmental conditions it will experience in the given application and see how the material changes its properties. The purpose of testing satellite solar panels was to see how solar panel materials withstand repeated thermal cycles. Other environmental tests can measure corrosion or chemical resistance and reactions to UV exposure. ^ Another category of materials and chemical testing involves testing the properties of hazardous substances. If a material is suspected to be dangerous, its properties must be quantified and qualified in order to implement appropriate handling measures.

Some known hazardous materials must be safely packaged for shipment. Environmental testing is the only way to determine if they are safe for shipping. This means that the packages must be subjected to temperature changes, drops, shocks, vibrations and simulated altitude changes to ensure that nothing bad happens during transportation. EUROLAB regularly performs such tests on lithium batteries, so they are considered safe for transportation.

Other Types of Environmental Tests

Almost all types of tests involve manipulating environmental factors to determine whether the product will perform satisfactorily. Environmental tests are a broad category. Environmental simulation test heat, pressure, humidity, humidity, exposure to UV rays, decomposition etc. It may contain changes and these environmental simulations can be performed in conjunction with any combination of dynamics and material tests.

EUROLAB engineers are experts in simulated test environments to include any combination of test methods and can customize them to your needs.

If you have questions about how the environmental testing program can help your business, contact our team today.

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