Research, Development, and Testing of Weather Balloons inside a Clear Vacuum Chamber

A wonderful company (more like one of the best companies in the world) which is currently involved with the research, development, and testing of high-altitude weather balloons, had a need for a vacuum chamber capable of achieving about 100 micro Torr (Micron) of ultimate Pressure for their testing environment. Fortunately, acrylic vacuum chambers are the perfect choice when it comes to Low, Rough, and Medium Vacuum.

This horizontally placed, cylindrical, clear acrylic vacuum chamber is about 12 inches in diameter by about 50 inches long. It can be placed horizontally on a table top. The interior of this chamber is accessed by opening the door on the left side. The right wall is also removable.

The chamber is used for testing of weather balloons. Notice that the door on the left side is not latched or clamped. The reason for this is due to the risk of over pressurization. In the unlikely event of the weather balloon bursting during the test procedure, the contents of the balloon would expel into the vacuum chamber and rapidly increase pressure and over pressurize the vacuum chamber. A latched or clamped door would keep or contain the pressure and risk damaging the vacuum chamber.

This design allows for the chamber door to simply open if the pressure inside the chamber changed from negative to positive and quickly relieve any overpressure without the risk of damaging the vacuum chamber.

On the opposite side of the door, we provided a total of 4 x 1/2 NPT Ports (which are plugged of course), a dial vacuum gauge, and two 1/4-inch NPT Valves (one is the vacuum valve, the other is the venting valve). Additionally, the whole left wall can be removed by removing the 8 fasteners present.

One advantage of having a removable right wall is that our client can customize right wall and add any other vacuum components such as thermocouples, feedthroughs, power feedthroughs, even multipin or Sub-D connectors if they choose to do so. Another advantage is that this allows for multiple wall configuration plates that can be made specific to each of their experiment. Not to mention the ability to able to clean or remove anything stuck on the opposite wall of the door. Can you imagine the hassle having to clean it without the ability of wall removal? One would have to have a really long broom stick to reach that deep in thereā€¦

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Vacuum Decay Leak Testing Systems
Vacuum Decay Leak Testing Systems are Instruments that detect and quantify a leak by measuring the drop in vacuum (pressure) inside the specimen. During a vacuum decay leak test, the specimen is placed into a vacuum chamber, the vacuum is pulled to a specified setpoint, and the drop in vacuum is monitored and recorded over time. If a leak in the specimen exists, the air will travel from a higher pressure (inside the specimen) to a lower pressure (vacuum chamber). As a results of the additional air, the vacuum levels will drop whereas a leak can be detected and quantified.
BNC Vacuum Feedthroughs
Coaxial Vacuum Feedthroughs are vacuum rated BNC connectors that enable you to run BNC from outside of vacuum chamber towards inside of the vacuum chamber without disturbing the vacuum. Triaxial Vacuum Feedthroughs, just like coax vacuum feedthroughs, will enable you to run Triax Connections from outside towards the inside of the vacuum chamber without disturbing the vacuum levels inside the vacuum chamber.
Our Work: Vacuum Testing of Lithium Ion Batteries, Thin Film, Fuel Cells, Supercapacitors, and Nano materials
This vacuum chamber is a modification to our basic acrylic vacuum chamber 12 inch, removable lid model; except that our customer requested additional ports and electrical feed-through for testing of electrical equipment under vacuum. You know, I wish we would have asked them for more details on what they were doing with this chamber; their short and concise answer was that they were using our chamber to perform scientific work on the subjects of: lithium ion batteries, thin films, fuel cells, super-capacitors, and nano-materials testing in a vacuum environment.
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