Altitude testing is performed on items that are stored, operated, or transported at high ground elevations; operated in pressurized or unpressurized areas of aircraft; exposed to rapid or explosive decompression; or carried externally on aircraft.
The purpose of this type of testing is to determine the effects that constant or rapid rates of change in altitude will have on the overall functioning of the test item, as well as any derogation that may limit the lifespan of the item.
We have three altitude testing chambers, which are connected to a group of vacuum pumps that can be applied to any of the chambers. This allows us to perform almost any test, from storage altitude to explosive decompression, in many different configurations to best suit the needs of the test item. Our altitude test facilities can simulate altitudes from Death Valley at -14.1 M (-282 ft.)-24,300 M (80,000 ft.).
An explosive environment is present when there is a dangerous substance in the air under atmospheric conditions. Explosive atmosphere testing ensures the safety of a component when exposed to explosive vapors or other dangerous environments.
This type of testing entails exposing items to their high operating temperature, as well as their high and site level altitude, in order to determine their safety of operation when exposed to an explosive atmosphere.
We can test the most complex flight electronics system, or something as simple as a shop vacuum, in order to verify the proper operation of your product in an explosive atmospheric environment.
We also have the ability to remotely actuate switches on test items. The actuation of switches better replicates how the item will be used in the field and can find potential risks in powering up the item in an explosive atmosphere.
The fluid compatibility process involves testing items in many different fluids in order to determine the possible breakdown of materials or coatings that may occur during an item’s service life.
DTB can subject test items or material samples to various types of fluids, as required by MIL-STD environmental testing requirements or by the item’s actual life cycle. Some of the common fluids used for this type of testing include fuels, hydraulic fluids, lubricating oils, solvents and cleaning fluids, de-icing and anti-freeze fluids, insecticides, disinfectants, coolant dielectric fluids, and fire extinguishants.
We have multiple fluid compatibility chambers that can accommodate a variety of fluid categories in order to meet your demanding test schedule.
Fungus can cause equipment damage and create health liabilities in hot and humid environments.
DTB’s fungus chamber provides a controlled environment in which the ill effects of fungus can be tested, in accordance with MIL-STD fungus test specifications. This type of testing requires 24/7 oversight to ensure that the proper test conditions are maintained.
We have tested items as small as handheld radios to items as large as aircraft seats and interior panels. Control samples are included in all fungus tests to ensure that the proper conditions have been preserved in order to grow the fungus spores. At the conclusion of testing, a biologist comes on-site to inspect the test item(s).
Ice/Freezing rain testing can determine if your product will experience any issues in the field, such as the binding or interference of moving parts; reduction of air flow efficiency for cooling systems or filters; reduction in the efficiency of aerodynamic lifting and control surfaces; and whether or not the transmission of electromagnetic radiation will be affected.
We have produced ice on test items of varying sizes, including small electrical connectors and large vehicles, which can be tested in our drive-in and walk-in environmental chambers.
DTB can start the testing process with freezing rain and transition into icing in order to determine how your product will perform when used in the field. We can also perform all three categories of RTCA DO-160 testing for icing, in which the test item is exposed to a rapid change in temperature, altitude, and humidity.
Rapid & Explosive Decompression
Decompression testing determines how a test item will react when pressures change rapidly – whether or not the item will malfunction or continue to operate properly. Rapid decompression is an altitude change that occurs in less than 15 seconds, while explosive decompression is an altitude change that occurs in no more than 0.1 seconds.
Using our 10 ft. x 20 ft. (L) altitude testing chamber as the accumulator, we can obtain a wide range of rapid and explosive decompression data, depending on the size and requirements of the test item. We have various pressure tanks that can accommodate small or large test items, such as handheld tablets or large rack-mounted equipment.
The large volume of the chamber, combined with our four available vacuum pumps, permits a wide array of possibilities when decompression occurs.
Salt fog testing involves misting a salt solution, which has a controlled PH and specific gravity, into the air in order to replicate a salt (marine) environment.
DTB’s salt fog testing capabilities can be tailored to meet your requirements or the latest industry standards, including MIL-STD-810G, ASTM B117, and ASTM G85 Annex A4.
Our 21 ft. salt fog chamber can be used for salt spray and salt corrosion testing on larger items, such as pick-up trucks. This particular chamber permits wind and rain testing to be performed indoors; therefore, actual weather conditions will not be an issue during testing. We can provide rain simulations anywhere from a spring drizzle through torrential, wind-driven rain.
Our 4 ft. salt fog chamber can be used for salt spray and salt corrosion testing on smaller items, such as electrical connectors. Accelerated corrosive atmospheres can also be produced for the effects of salt and sea mist.
Other contaminants, like SO2, can be used in our 12 ft. salt fog chamber, according to your desired environmental testing conditions.
Sand & Dust
DTB can recreate a desert storm or the air blast from an aircraft by combining the wind-driven abrasion of sand and dust with actual temperatures.
Sand testing evaluates the ability of materials to be stored and operated in blowing sand conditions without degrading performance, effectiveness, reliability, and maintainability.
Our sand chamber is external to our main facility and is used to perform all sand testing to the latest MIL-STD specifications. The winds for this environmental test are developed using a large electric motor blower assembly.
Dust testing evaluates the ability of materials to resist the effects of dust, which may obstruct openings or penetrate cracks, crevices, bearings, and joints. This type of testing can also be used to determine the effectiveness of filters when exposed to dust. We can also determine the shelf life of your product by performing a settling dust test.
DTB’s 13 ft. standard chamber is used for dust testing and has an effective work area of 64 cu. ft.
Sand and dust testing determines any failure points in products before they are used in the field. For sand testing, these failure points can include any abrasion to the test item that exceeds the specified requirements or protective coatings, including if the seals are compromised. For dust testing, these failure points can include the binding, clogging, seizing, or blocking of moving parts; non-operation contacts or relays; or the formation of electrically-conductive bridges with resulting shorts.
Solar Radiation Exposure (UV)
Solar radiation testing is performed in order to determine the heating effects of direct solar radiation on materials through MIL-STD-810G Method 505.5 (Procedure 1) and to help identify the actinic (photodegradation) effects of direct solar radiation through MIL-STD-810 Method 505.5 (Procedure 2).
Procedure 1 can determine if the solar heat load will jam or loosen moving parts; affect strength and elasticity; impact seal integrity; cause premature actuation of electrical contacts; or cause blistering, peeling, or de-lamination of paints, composites, and laminates that have been applied with adhesives, such as radar absorbent material (RAM).
Procedure 2 can determine if the actinic effects have aided in the fading of fabric and plastic color; the chalking and fading of paints; or if the deterioration of natural and synthetic elastomers and polymers through photochemical reactions, which have been initiated by shorter wavelength radiation, has occurred.
DTB has two solar array facilities throughout the laboratory. Our largest, which conforms to MIL-STD-810G, can test items in a workspace of 8 ft. x 8 ft. Our second facility can test items that fit within a 24 in. x 24 in. diameter test area.
Our two solar facilities, combined with the number of chambers that we can place them in, allow us to meet the most demanding environmental testing schedules for our customers.
Temperature & Humidity
DTB’s environmental testing chambers range from 2.1 cu. ft.-3,500 cu. ft., and our standard facilities can simulate temperatures from -80°F-350°F. Our enhanced facilities can provide temperature ranges from -150°F-450°F.
We have over 30 high/low temperature chambers – the largest being our 25 ft. (L) x 15 ft. (W) x 12 ft. (H) drive-in environmental chamber, which is coupled with over 240 HP of refrigeration, 240,000 KVA of heat, and a 42 KVA steam generator for humidity test requirements.
The purpose of humidity testing is to determine a material’s resistance to the effects of warm and humid environments.
DTB’s humidity test chambers come in several sizes to help meet your unique testing requirements. In addition to our 25 ft. chamber, we also have a standard humidity chamber, which is 64 cu. ft. in volume, as well as a 24 ft. chamber.
All of our humidity chambers meet the requirements of MIL-STD-810. These chambers can reach temperatures up to 185⁰F, along with a relative humidity of 95%.
Thermal vacuum testing provides real-world environmental conditions that can help identify design flaws before a test item is integrated into a larger system. This type of testing can also determine if any sealing issues exist in seals or rings, prior to installation.
DTB’s thermal vacuum chamber is 4 ft. x 6 ft. and has an internal working area of 24 in. x 16 in. This chamber can simulate outer space altitudes of 330,000 ft. or higher and is capable of reaching 10-5 Torr of vacuum – while simultaneously radiating temperature to extreme highs and lows through a copper plate.
We use the chill plate method to heat and cool test items in the thermal vacuum chamber. This method uses a cooling fluid though the plate, such as liquid nitrogen, to lower the temperature, as well as built-in heaters to raise the temperature of the test item in a high vacuum environment.
Wind & Rain
The purpose of wind and rain testing is to determine the effectiveness of protective covers, cases, and seals in preventing the penetration of water into a material, as well as the ability of a material to satisfy its performance requirements. Other reasons for testing include identifying any physical deterioration of a material that has been caused by rain, as well as determining the effectiveness of a water removal system or the effectiveness of the protection that has been offered to a packaged material.
DTB’s main wind and rain exposure facility is located outside, near our remote facility, and employs an adjustable aircraft prop, which is coupled with a high power marine engine.
This facility typically performs tests to 4 in. of rain with winds at 40 MPH. We can also provide anywhere from a sprinkle of rain to a complete downpour, as well as winds up to 75 MPH. This combination permits DTB to meet MIL-STD-810 specifications, as well as nearly any other environmental testing requirements that you may have.
MIL-STD-810 is a US military specification that puts emphasis on tailoring an equipment’s environmental design and test limits to the conditions that it will experience throughout its service life.
The MIL-STD-810 test series are approved for use by all US Department of Defense (DoD) departments and agencies. Although prepared specifically for military applications, this standard is often used for commercial products, as well.
DTB can combine tests and environments to your requirements, according to the following:
- MIL-STD-810G Method 500.5 Low Pressure Testing (Altitude Testing)
- MIL-STD-810G Method 501.5 High Temperature Testing
- MIL-STD-810G Method 502.5 Low Temperature Testing
- MIL-STD-810G Method 503.5 Temperature Shock
- MIL-STD-810G Method 504.1 Contamination by Fluids
- MIL-STD-810G Method 505.5 Solar Radiation (Sun/UV)
- MIL-STD-810G Method 506.5 Rain Testing
- MIL-STD-810G Method 507.5 Humidity
- MIL-STD-810G Method 508.6 Fungus
- MIL-STD-810G Method 509.5 Salt Fog Testing
- MIL-STD-810G Method 510.5 Sand and Dust Testing
- MIL-STD-810G Method 511.5 Explosive Atmosphere
- MIL-STD-810G Method 512.5 Immersion
- MIL-STD-810G Method 513.6 Acceleration
- MIL-STD-810G Method 514.6 Vibration
- MIL-STD-810G Method 515.6 Acoustic Noise
- MIL-STD-810G Method 516.6 Shock
- MIL-STD-810G Method 517.1 Pyroshock
- MIL-STD-810G Method 518.1 Acidic Atmosphere
- MIL-STD-810G Method 519.6 Gunfire Shock
- MIL-STD-810G Method 520.3 Temperature, Humidity, Vibration, and Altitude
- MIL-STD-810G Method 521.3 Icing, Freezing Rain Testing
- MIL-STD-810G Method 522.1 Ballistic Shock
- MIL-STD-810G Method 523.3 Vibro-Acoustic/Temperature
- MIL-STD-810G Method 524 Freeze/Thaw
- MIL-STD-810G Method 525 Time Waveform Replication
- MIL-STD-810G Method 526 Rail Impact
- MIL-STD-810G Method 527 Multi-Exciter
Life Cycle Testing
DTB has conducted environmental exposure testing on many types of products, both commercial and military. We can develop the appropriate test protocols to simulate real-world environments, which can be added to life cycle tests.
Some of the contaminants that we use in order to provide aggressive test environments include salt fog, SO2 (acid rain) exposure, and sand and dust.
This type of testing can be conducted on large components by testing smaller coupons and applying those results to the large systems, which is also referred to as the use of “knockdown factors,” in the event that a smaller chamber must be used or if the entire system is not ready to undergo testing.
This process can reduce testing time and expenses by allowing large components to be tested under laboratory conditions, while maintaining confidence in system performance under specific adverse environments.
Accelerated Life Cycle Testing
DTB has the facilities, expertise, and experience to conduct accelerated life cycle testing on a wide variety of products.
Accelerated life cycle testing is conducted using aggressive test condition profiles and potential rates of change. Field measurements of the actual product environment are used in order to develop aggressive test parameters that quickly exercise the product in a realistic manner. Variating conditions include a wide range of vibration levels, temperatures, humidity, structural loads, altitudes, electrical loading, and engine loading.
DTB can work with your engineers to develop custom load profiles. We have tested products, such as plumbing fixtures, diesel engines, aircraft arresting gear, and electrical components. Depending on the type of product and test, our facilities can handle large test items and high test levels. From 400,000 lb. proof loads to the vacuum of space, our facilities can handle your extreme test requirements.
Life Cycle Testing Applications
Seat Belt Certification Testing:
DTB performs certification testing on automotive safety restraint systems to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 209, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213, and Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 209 specifications. These standards include seat belt retractor, seat belt assembly, and webbing testing.
Retractor testing includes retraction force, acceleration performance, and life cycle tests. Assembly testing is comprised of pelvic loop load and elongation, torso loop load and elongation, and buckle strength tests. Webbing testing involves strength, elongation, abrasion, and ultraviolet light exposure.
DTB has conducted many types of accelerated life cycle tests on electrical components, including environmental stress screening tests on electrical circuit boards, aircraft radio receivers, and other electrical equipment. We can provide a wide variety of power sources, high current levels, large wattage load banks, and cooling supplies in order to operate the items under test.
DTB has a long-standing history with the plumbing industry. We are one of only a handful of US independent test labs certified with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) for plumbing fixtures and components, as well as the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) for multiple tests.
We have dedicated facilities that provide automated life cycle testing under real-world conditions. Commercial and residential applications, as well as industrial components, all require their own unique levels of reliability and performance. Whether you need to evaluate ambient cycling, pressure, water hammer tests, or even temperature effects, we have the expertise to assist you with a test design that is appropriate for your product.
DTB’s extensive facilities and 24/7 operations provide DV and PV testing in a timely manner. Our vibration facilities are able to vibrate 12-24 driver or passenger airbags at a time, as well as handle 4-8 full instrument panels (IPs) at a time.
Our drive-in environmental chambers are used to test entire lot samples – further reducing testing time. We use our solar radiation array of lights to test the materials of these IPs in order to provide ample confidence in the vehicle, while simulating many years of service.