Research Altitude Chamber industrial fabrication

Posted by Tom McDevitt on Apr 11, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Rose Corporation was awarded a job to build a Research Altitude Chamber for a large customer of ours that is now in the testing phase. The Chamber was commissioned by the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio. 

The chamber is one of four that will be used for various types of research.  The tank Rose fabricated, for example, was designed to simulate altitude variances and can go from mean sea level to 80,000 feet in just .004 seconds! Yes … four one-hundredths of a second! 

The chamber can simulate altitudes up to 200,000 feet but will only be used to simulate up to 100,000 feet.  Apparently it is an industry standard to design these chambers to withstand more than they will actually be used for during testing.   

Because of the nature of the chambers, specific pressure testing was required in addition to the hydro testing that we have come to know quite well here.  And this type of testing doesn’t come cheap to our customer!  Each of the testing modules is valued at about 10K (and there were four on site for this small chamber) with the software used to measure results somewhere around 50K.

Each of the modules is attached to the fabrication with strain gauges that look like a combination of cables and testing strips.  When assembled and connected to the software, the inspector uses the system to test the structural integrity of the vessel by measuring movement in the grain structure of the material.  “Leaks” in the material are found when the system compares the measured value to the pre-calculated measures.

In other words, we weld to ASME standards and this system tests to be sure we did a quality job and the chamber is built to specifications and safe to use.   

On site for the testing were two mechanics and a systems engineer from our customer’s facility to perform the necessary procedures.  Curious about training for use of this system, the engineer related that for someone with engineering experience, it takes just one or two days of training to be able to read and interpret the software information correctly.

One of the two mechanics said he is doing on-the-job-training in order to learn to set the testing equipment up correctly.  This was his third or fourth time doing something similar and he has more training to do before he could go at it alone.

As a side note, the door to be permanently installed on the chamber will have a 3” thick acrylic glass window for researchers to be able to view inside of the vessel during the research process.   

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The Chamber is to the left of the photo.  On the table are the four modules set up for testing.

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Above, the engineer is monitoring the results of the test. Below, the lead mechanic checks gauges for issues.

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The side of the Chamber has been closed off with a piece of metal for testing.  Upon completion, the metal will be replaced with the actual door, (the frame is pictured below), which will hold a 3” thick acrylic piece.

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Why the drink cup?  Unlike the sophisticated equipment being built with sophisticated testing devices, this simple cup just draws attention to the protruding pipe preventing accidents from happening!  Love the ingenuity!

The Rose Corporation is a Pennsylvania-based, WBENC-certified small business specializing in the manufacture of custom industrial fabrication, large-scale precision weldments, power generation equipment (including repairs), and more. The Rose Corporation’s most unique strength is our experience with delivery of specialized design expertise, along with an ability to help customers optimize manufacturability, reduce costs, and improve overall product quality.

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