The aerospace industry is constantly evolving as new technologies and mission plans are developed for governments and both private and public companies. As the momentum for these projects increases, it is vital for these organizations to intensify the testing of these technologies for a better understanding of the data and behavior of their products. The Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) has published DO-160, which is a standard for the environmental testing of avionics equipment, and aircraft components. MGA, in the pursuit of servicing the testing needs of the automotive and aerospace industries, can perform this testing, and provide the data necessary to meet the requirements of the DO-160 standard. As a part 1 of a deeper dive in some of these requirements, we are covering the importance of the temperature and humidity requirements.
One type of testing that is included in the DO-160 standard is the environmental temperature and humidity testing. It is important to understand the behavior of different components through a variety of conditions, including variable temperatures and humidity that may simulate real world scenarios. Having data for the performance of equipment in these environmental conditions is essential in ensuring overall safety, validating any quality assurance, and guiding for any potential design innovations.
Variable temperatures can lead to the expansion and contraction of materials which can affect the overall viability of avionic equipment. As the material morphs there can be added stresses/strains on certain areas of the equipment that could lead to potential failures or deviate from the overall quality of the intended design (See image 1 for temperature profile). Variable humidity can lead to many complications on the performance of avionic equipment such as electrical short circuits, material degradation, or unwanted material reactions such as corrosion (See image 2 for sample humidity profile). Simulating these conditions through controlled tests can provide valuable insight and lead to any necessary design changes.
Testing variable temperatures and humidity simultaneously can help represent the harsh conditions present in aerospace applications. The variance between conditions during takeoff versus a high-altitude flight provide a wide range of both temperature and humidity that aircraft components should be expected to withstand. In fact, these test requirements are often seen on electronic components, seats, internal structures such as Galleys, as well as external structures such as landing gears. Our large inventory of chambers allows us to provide support for virtually any component whether it be in a small reach-in chamber, to our mega-chambers (capable of being custom built).