environmental test

environmental test

[in¦vī·ərn¦mənt·əl ′test]
(engineering)
A laboratory test conducted to determine the functional performance of a component or system under conditions that simulate the real environment in which the component or system is expected to operate.

Environmental test

The evaluation of a physical system (engineering product) in conditions which simulate one or more of the environments that may harm the system or adversely affect its performance. In addition to the evaluation of a finished product, environmental testing can play an important role throughout a product's design/development cycle to ensure that the materials and manufacturing processes employed can meet the stresses imposed by the environment in which the product is likely to operate. By not waiting until a finished product is evaluated, manufacturers can use environmental testing to eliminate costly redesigns late in the design/development cycle.

Because it is necessary to precisely control the environmental factors which define the test (for example, temperature, vibration level, or altitude), environmental testing is typically conducted in specially designed facilities, or environmental chambers. Some environmental chambers can generate extremely high and low temperatures and humidity levels. Others can simulate corrosive environments such as salt sprays. Products and equipment intended for military use are often subjected to the harshest and most variable of environmental conditions. The military has pioneered the creation of well-documented standards and specifications for the evaluation and testing of any products or equipment which it will purchase.

Civilian organizations, such as the Society of Automotive Engineers, publish standards for automotive and aerospace equipment. In addition, nearly 100 countries have adopted the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 series of standards for quality management and quality assurance. These standards are implemented by thousands of manufacturing and service organizations, both public and private. Of the ISO 9000 family standards, ISO 9003 covers quality assurance obligations of the manufacturer in the areas of final inspection and testing. Among the guidelines provided by ISO 9003 are those dedicated to (1) developing procedures to inspect, test, and verify that final products meet all specified requirements before they are sold; (2) developing procedures to control and calibrate the testing equipment; (3) ensuring that every product is identified as having passed or failed the required tests. ISO 9003 will have a significant impact upon the standardization of environmental testing in both civilian and military endeavors.

An incomplete but representative list of environmental tests requiring dedicated test chambers includes tests for altitude, dust, explosiveness, flammability, fungus, humidity, icing, acoustic vibration, overpressure, rain, salt fog, sand, temperature, and wind. Tests typically not requiring chambers but still utilizing dedicated mechanical testing equipment include acceleration, fatigue cycling, transportation simulation, shock, and vibration.

References in periodicals archive ?
The environmental test phase is an important time in the mission as it will reveal any issues with the spacecraft and instruments, while here on Earth, before we send it into deep space.
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Instrumentation: Environmental test chambers, curing and testing ovens
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The state Department of Toxic Substances Control is expected to disclose environmental test results in a preliminary assessment by late March, according to Tony Ward of Arcadis, Geraghty & Miller, the Hart District's environmental consulting firm.
Box 1320 Minneapolis, MN 55440 Phone: (612) 469-5424 Instrumentation: Environmental test chambers, curing and testing ovens Services offered: Technical service, training
The growing demand from the Asia Pacific region for environmental test equipment drives the market.

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