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Stability Shipping Containers for the DEA & Medical Institutions


Stability Shipping Containers for the DEA & Medical Institutions

Controlled substance storage is critical for the DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Administration) and medical organizations that require secure, temperature-controlled rooms that are able to manage certain chemicals and other substances. Darwin Chambers provides government agencies, healthcare professionals, and others with mobile "labs" that can be brought on site as stability chambers for research.

Who Would Need a Mobile Stability Chamber?

There are a handful of use-cases and reasons why you might need a mobile stability chamber.

  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Biotechnology Firms
  • Research Institutions
  • Medical Device Manufacturers
  • Food and Beverage Industry
  • Cosmetics and Personal Care Companies
  • Contract Research Organizations (CROs)
  • Government and Regulatory Agencies
  • Environmental Testing Laboratories
  • Chemical Manufacturers
  • Agricultural and Seed Companies

Why Would Hospitals and the Government Need Stability Chambers?

The DEA requires stability chambers to handle controlled substances that can be stored and transported under conditions that maintain their integrity, effectiveness, and everyone's safety. This helps prevent degradation and ensures compliance with regulatory standards for pharmaceutical products, drugs for forensics, and other testing. Contact Darwin Chambers now to learn more about our portable stability chambers.

In the medical field, this may include controlled substances, vaccines, and other drugs. See below for a few examples:

  • Morphine: An opioid used for pain management that requires strict regulation due to its potential for abuse and addiction.
  • Fentanyl: A powerful synthetic opioid that is highly regulated because of its potency and risk of misuse.
  • Adderall: A stimulant used to treat ADHD, which needs secure storage to prevent unauthorized access and distribution.
  • Medical Cannabis: Used for various therapeutic purposes, it requires controlled storage conditions to maintain its efficacy and comply with legal standards.
  • Other Controlled Substances: Including various prescription medications and research chemicals that require secure handling and precise environmental control.

Medical and DEA Shipping Containers

With our capabilities, we can provide the DEA and other organizations with on-site laboratories for efficient stability testing. Stability testing containers are quick to deploy, operate the same way a controlled environment room would, and are cost-effective. These containers are designed to meet the specific needs of regulatory bodies, ensuring that all testing and storage protocols are adhered to.

Key features of our DEA shipping containers include:

  • Compliance with DEA regulations for secure storage and testing of controlled substances, ensuring legal and safety standards are met.
  • Quick deployment and setup, allowing for immediate use without extensive installation procedures, making them ideal for urgent testing needs.
  • State-of-the-art temperature and humidity control systems to maintain optimal testing conditions, ensuring reliable and consistent results.
  • Cost-effectiveness compared to building dedicated stability testing facilities, offering a practical solution for budget-conscious organizations.
  • Scalability to accommodate varying testing requirements and sample volumes, providing flexibility to meet diverse operational needs.

What Are Stability Chambers Used For?

With mobile shipping containers, you can have a stability room moved wherever you need it. These mobile, full-size material test/cure and stability rooms serve as extensions of your permanent facilities, offering additional space and flexibility. They can also function as mobile units, providing maximum convenience and efficiency when your work requires you to move to another site.

Stability rooms, chambers, and containers are used for a number of different reasons, including:

  • Compliance with Regulatory Standards: Meeting the stringent requirements set by organizations like the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration), DEA, and the ICH (International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use) for the storage and testing of sensitive materials.
  • Pharmaceutical Testing: Ensuring drugs maintain their identity, strength, quality, and purity over time under various environmental conditions.
  • Clinical Trials: Providing controlled environments for storing samples and materials, ensuring consistency and reliability in trial results.
  • Biotechnology Research: Facilitating experiments that require precise environmental control, such as temperature and humidity regulation.
  • Food and Beverage Storage: Testing the shelf life and stability of food and beverages under different conditions to ensure safety and quality.
  • Cosmetic Testing: Assessing the stability and longevity of cosmetic products, ensuring they remain safe and effective over time.
  • Industrial Material Testing: Evaluating the durability and performance of materials used in various industries, such as automotive and aerospace.

Benefits of Mobile Shipping Containers

These mobile units provide a versatile solution for various industries, enabling efficient and controlled environmental testing on-site.

Key features of our mobile shipping containers include:

  • Portability: Easily transportable to different locations for on-site testing and research projects, ensuring that testing can be conducted wherever it is needed.
  • Customization: Configurable to meet specific environmental control requirements, including temperature, humidity, and lighting, to suit diverse testing needs.
  • Durability: Constructed with high-quality materials to withstand harsh conditions and ensure long-term reliability, making them a robust choice for various environments.
  • Scalability: Available in various sizes and configurations to accommodate different testing volumes and applications, allowing for flexibility in testing and research.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Provides a practical and economical solution for stability testing, reducing the need for permanent infrastructure investments.

Contact the Darwin Chambers team today to learn more about our controlled environmental rooms, reach-in chambers, and mobile shipping containers.


The Importance of Stability Testing in Pharmaceuticals


The Importance of Stability Testing in Pharmaceuticals

Improving upon or even bringing a drug to market is a complex process. For pharmaceutical manufacturers and researchers, stability chambers allow for controlled testing that meets accepted FDA and ICH guidelines. Contact Darwin Chambers for more information.

Stability Chambers for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices

Stability chambers play a vital role in pharmaceutical and medical device industries by ensuring compliance with regulatory guidelines set forth by the FDA and ICH. These guidelines mandate the testing and monitoring of various products to guarantee their safety, efficacy, and quality throughout their shelf life.

Stability chambers simulate real-world environmental conditions to assess the stability of a wide range of pharmaceutical products and medical devices. Some examples of products that undergo stability testing include vaccines, syrups, transdermal patches, inhalers, salves and ointments, additives, medicines, medical devices, dressing materials, and other pharmaceuticals. By subjecting these products to controlled conditions, stability chambers help manufacturers identify potential degradation mechanisms, determine shelf life, and ensure product integrity, ultimately contributing to the delivery of safe and effective healthcare products to consumers.

Stability studies typically include the following assessments:

  • Potency: Measurement of the drug's strength and effectiveness.
  • Purity: Determination of the drug's chemical composition and the presence of impurities.
  • pH: Monitoring of the drug's acidity and alkalinity levels.
  • Dissolution Rate: Assessing how quickly a drug dissolves in specific solutions.
  • Presence/Absence of Degradation Products: Monitoring shelf life and product breakdown.
  • Microbial Limits:
  • Checking for acceptable levels of microbial contamination.

  • Sterility:
  • Confirmation that the drug is free from viable microorganisms after certain periods of time.

Stability testing allows you to expedite testing under controlled conditions. This might include a controlled environment room or reach-in chamber.

Condition control variables include:

  • Temperature and Humidity: Ensuring optimal storage conditions.
  • Light Exposure: Assessing the impact of light on the product's stability.
  • Packing Material Degradation: Evaluating the integrity of packaging over time.

With real-time, accelerated, and long-term testing, this comprehensive approach to stability testing not only helps in determining the appropriate storage conditions and shelf life but also ensures compliance with global standards. Ultimately, it contributes to the overall success and reliability of pharmaceutical products.

What are ICH Requirements?

The International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) is a collaborative regulatory authority that establishes guidelines for medical storage and testing.

The ICH is an international effort to ensure drug safety, efficacy, and quality for pharmaceutical manufacturers and labs. The main priorities include:

  • Safety: Ensuring that drugs are safe for consumption.
  • Efficacy: Confirming that drugs effectively treat the conditions they are meant for.
  • Quality: Maintaining high standards in drug production.
  • Multidisciplinary Standards: Harmonizing guidelines across different regulatory areas.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and inspects drugs and other medical products to ensure they meet public health laws and regulations. This includes everything from vaccines and allergy shots to gene therapy and medical devices. For a pharmaceutical company or research group, following FDA guidelines is essential for "clearing" medical products. Note that the FDA does not oversee health care organizations or specific labs—just the final product that a consumer would use.

Why is Stability Testing Important?

Pharmaceutical stability testing is the process of assessing a drug's chemical and physical properties over time. This testing ensures that the product retains its identity, strength, quality, and purity throughout its shelf life. The process exposes the drug or product to different environmental conditions in order to monitor its stability over time.

Stability testing helps with predicting product behavior under various conditions, ultimately guiding storage, packaging, and shipping decisions to ensure the drug reaches consumers in its intended form. Stability chambers are also used to identify potential issues with pharmaceuticals before they become significant problems, ensuring that patients receive safe and effective medications.

Pharmaceutical Stability Chambers

As an essential step in regulatory approval, stability testing is an effective, safe way to stress-test pharmaceuticals. Darwin Chambers is here to help institutions, labs, drug manufacturers, and others incorporate stability chambers into their organizations. Our services include installation, maintenance, IQOQPQ (qualifications) and high-quality equipment to provide accurate and definitive test results.

Contact our team today to learn more about pharmaceutical stability chambers.


The Allied Genetics Conference #TAGC24!


The Allied Genetics Conference #TAGC24!

Darwin Chambers had a wonderful time sharing a booth with our partners, Genesee Scientific, at The Allied Genetics Conference that features drosophila research (and other secotors), hosted by the Genetics Society of America in Washington D.C.

Genesee Scientific sells our GS series thermoelectric cooled insect chambers manufactured by Darwin, making this expo a perfect fit for us. The expo attendees were truly passionate about their industry and their research. The field of genetics is truly fascinating, and the collaboration of brilliant minds can lead to groundbreaking discoveries. Darwin considers ourselves very fortunate to have participated in a conference that brought together some of the most brilliant minds in the field of genetics.


Concrete Testing Inside Shipping Containers | At Your Site!


Concrete Testing Inside Shipping Containers | At Your Site

Labs, construction companies, testing facilities, and others might not think of a shipping container as an on-site concrete curing solution. Darwin Chambers has the all-in-one mobile environmental room for concrete curing and testing.

Our shipping containers can be adapted into concrete curing containers that allow you to test concrete in accordance with ASTM standards and CCR Contact our experts today to learn more about our mobile concrete curing rooms.

On-The-Go Concrete Curing Rooms

Mobile and efficient, concrete curing doesn't need to be a hassle with our controlled shipping containers. Here are a few use-cases for concrete curing rooms:

  • Construction Companies: We provide controlled environments (temperature, on-site curing, moisture testing, etc.) that allow construction companies an opportunity to test strength and durability. You can reduce the risks of cracking and improve long-term stability before investing the time and resources into a weak pour.
  • Precast Manufacturing: Precast concrete manufacturers utilize curing containers to cure precast concrete elements such as beams, columns, slabs, and panels, in an environmental room. This ensures consistent quality and strength of precast components before they are installed on construction sites.
  • Testing Labs: Laboratories that perform concrete testing and research require curing containers to conduct experiments, test specimens, and evaluate the performance of different concrete mixes under controlled curing conditions. These shipping containers help with assessing concrete properties, such as compressive strength, durability, and shrinkage.
  • Infrastructure: Infrastructure projects like highways, railways, airports, and dams, often require large quantities of concrete for construction. Concrete curing containers play a vital role in ensuring the integrity and longevity of concrete structures in these projects by providing optimal curing conditions.

Any organization involved in construction, manufacturing, testing, or maintenance regarding concrete structures can benefit from mobile concrete testing containers.

What Types of Concrete Can Darwin’s Shipping Containers Cure/Test?

There are a number of types of concrete that can be tested with our controlled environmental on-site concrete curing rooms. These include:

  1. Normal Strength Concrete: This is the most commonly used type of concrete and typically has a compressive strength ranging from 2,500 to 6,000 pounds per square inch (psi). It is suitable for general construction purposes such as foundations, slabs, and sidewalks.
  2. High-Strength Concrete: High-strength concrete is engineered to have compressive strengths exceeding 6,000 psi. It is often used in high-rise buildings, bridges, and other structures where greater strength and durability are required.
  3. Lightweight Concrete: Lightweight concrete is formulated with lightweight aggregates such as expanded shale, clay, or slate to reduce its density and weight. It is commonly used in precast concrete products, insulation panels, and applications where weight reduction is important.
  4. Heavyweight Concrete: Heavyweight concrete contains heavy aggregates such as iron or steel shot, magnetite, or barite to increase its density and weight. It is used in applications requiring high density, such as radiation shielding, counterweights, and ballasts.
  5. Shotcrete: Shotcrete, also known as sprayed concrete, is a type of concrete that is pneumatically projected at high velocity onto a surface. It is commonly used in slope stabilization, tunnel lining, and structural repair applications due to its rapid placement and excellent bonding properties.
  6. Self-Consolidating Concrete (SCC): SCC is a highly flowable and non-segregating type of concrete that fills complex forms and achieves consolidation without the need of mechanical vibration. It is often used in applications where high flowability and improved finish quality are desired.
  7. Pervious Concrete: Pervious concrete, also known as permeable or porous concrete, is designed to allow water to pass through freely, and helps with stormwater management and groundwater recharge. It is commonly used in parking lots, sidewalks, and other applications that may be affected by erosion, storm water, and natural causes.
  8. Fiber-Reinforced Concrete (FRC): FRC contains fibers such as steel, glass, or synthetic fibers to enhance its tensile strength, toughness, and crack resistance. It is used in applications requiring improved durability and resistance to cracking, such as industrial floors, pavements, and bridge decks.

These are just a few examples of the many types of concrete available, each tailored to meet specific project requirements and performance criteria.

Concrete Curing & Shipping Containers

Request a quote for your own concrete curing room inside a shipping container today and speak to our team at (314) 534-3111 or email sales@darwinchambers.com to discuss your unique needs and how we can help.


Archival Research Chambers


Archival research chambers and other controlled chambers have practical uses in a number of industries. When it comes to history, it's important to consider the integrity of any item you want to preserve or research later. We build controlled environment rooms and smaller chambers for researchers, manufacturing companies, archivists, and other organizations.

Archival storage rooms and smaller archival chambers have a multitude of functions. This includes:

  • Protecting objects from light damage
  • Reducing risks of pests and insects control
  • Proper shelving and organization
  • Preventing dust and other buildup
  • Preventing moisture damage by the inclusion of our desiccant dryer

A clean environment is a safe one for your archival research. Archival materials need to be taken care of and we offer custom chambers that get the job done right.

What Needs Archiving and Storage?

There are a number of items that may need a secure place. Below are a few examples:

  • Artifacts and Artwork: Valuable artifacts, antiques, artwork, and cultural heritage items need secure storage to prevent damage, theft, and deterioration over time. Read more about us here.
  • Media Archives: Libraries, museums, and media organizations need secure storage for archives of books, manuscripts, photographs, films, audio recordings, and digital media.
  • Biological Samples: Laboratories and research facilities require secure storage for biological samples, specimens, and experimental materials to maintain their integrity and prevent contamination.
  • Personal Belongings: Individuals may need secure storage for personal belongings such as jewelry, heirlooms, collectibles, and memorabilia to protect them from loss, theft, or damage.
  • Medical Records: Healthcare facilities need secure storage for patient medical records, diagnostic images, and sensitive health information to comply with privacy regulations and protect patient confidentiality.
  • Government and Military Assets: Government agencies and military organizations require secure storage for classified documents, weapons, equipment, and sensitive materials to safeguard national security interests.
  • Architectural Plans and Engineering Drawings: Architectural firms, engineering companies, and construction projects might want secure storage for blueprints, CAD drawings, and project documentation to protect intellectual property and ensure project continuity.
  • Historical and Cultural Collections: Historical societies, archives, and cultural institutions require secure storage for collections of certain artifacts, documents, and memorabilia to preserve and protect cultural heritage for future generations.
  • Documents and Records: Important documents such as legal papers, contracts, financial records, and historical documents need to be securely stored and archived to ensure their integrity and confidentiality.
  • Data Storage: Digital data, including databases, backups, and archives, require secure storage to protect against unauthorized access, data loss, and cyber threats.

Historical, medical, and other important items should be protected from the elements and human handling until necessary. With our advanced technologies, Darwin Chambers has helped out with these needs for more than 30 years.

Secure Storage & Archival Research Chambers

For any research purposes, having archival storage is a practical way to protect artifacts and perform valuable research. Here are some of the benefits and features we can discuss further:

  1. Temperature and Humidity Control: These custom storage chambers maintain precise temperature and humidity levels to create optimal conditions for preserving delicate materials.
  2. Air Quality: Air quality management is crucial in archival storage to minimize the risk of deterioration caused by pollutants, dust, and other contaminants.
  3. Shelving and Organization: The interior of any archival storage chamber is designed with adjustable shelving and storage configurations to accommodate various types and sizes of archival materials.
  4. Security Features: Chambers may include features such as locking doors, access control systems, and surveillance cameras to enhance security measures.
  5. Lighting: Lighting within the storage chamber is carefully controlled to minimize exposure to any harmful UV radiation.
  6. Fire Suppression and Emergency Systems: Archival storage chambers may be equipped with fire suppression systems, smoke detectors, and temperature alarms.
  7. Accessibility: Despite being designed for preservation, quality archival chambers are also built with accessibility in mind.

Walk-in rooms are equipped with a personnel emergency alarm featuring a glow-in-the-dark antimicrobial pull cord. This alarm triggers both audible and visual alerts, ensuring swift response in case of emergencies. We utilize LED lights which generate less radiant heat and provide more efficient lighting compared to fluorescent bulbs, ensuring cost-effective media preservation.

Why Darwin Chambers? | Archival Chambers

For secure storage archive chambers and other projects, it's our job to provide clients with safe and secure archival solutions. You can reach us at 877-783-6774 or request a free quote online.


CCN 2023 Carbon Emissions | Carbon Reduction & Neutral Shipping


CCN 2023 Carbon Emissions | Carbon Reduction & Neutral Shipping

Last year, we partnered with UPS to help reduce the global carbon footprint.

The Carbon Neutral Shipping program is an environmental option for businesses wanting to offload their carbon costs/emissions for the environment and everyone living on this planet. Carbon neutral shipping is a small cost designed to support:

  • Reforestation
  • Renewable Energy
  • Methane & Landfill Gas Destruction
  • Wastewater Treatment

Climate change has been on the radar for UPS for years--and they have since considered alternate ways to partner with companies like our own to improve efficiency standards. At Darwin Chambers, it's important for our organization to support environmental moves that attribute to positive change.

CCN Carbon Emissions

Helped by the SGS--a recognized inspection, testing, and verification agency--it's our job to bring clean energy into your world.

So far, we have helped mitigate more than 5.7 metric tons of CO2 throughout 2023.

Addressing climate change is a major priority. Our partnership with UPS helps support projects that offset any emissions generated during transportation. We're more than proud to play our part.


Insect Rearing Chambers | IN023 Budget-Friendly Solution


Introducing a Budget-Friendly Insect Rearing Chamber: Darwin’s IN023

Insect rearing chambers are used for a number of different scientific studies and experiments. With a controlled environment, researchers can see how temperature, humidity, and other factors impact insects. This includes luminosity and how long you can keep a controlled environment open for testing.

An insect rearing chamber is where insects are raised for research or other purposes. These chambers control factors like temperature and humidity to create the right conditions for the insects to grow and reproduce. They're used in labs and sometimes in larger facilities for things like studying insect behavior or producing insects for pest control.

Introduced in 2003, the IN series revolutionized insect rearing with the first commercially-produced large capacity Peltier-cooled chambers. These chambers are now widely used by research companies globally, offering several advantages for insect rearing. Additionally, the IN series chambers are versatile and adaptable, making them ideal for various types of insect testing and research applications. Their precise temperature and humidity control create optimal conditions for insect growth, development, and behavior studies, ensuring accurate and reliable experimental results.

Common applications of insect rearing chambers include ecological studies, honey production from bees, fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster) behavior and production, and other areas of research. The crucial component is to make sure that your chamber is set up to suit your needs and goals.

What is the IN023 Insect Rearing Chamber?

The IN023 single door insect rearing chamber is built for research involving insects but is adaptable to other needs. There are a few reasons to consider the IN Series as a compatible product for your research. See below for its standard capabilities:

  • Cooling redundancy is important for chambers that need to maintain certain temperatures. The IN series (including the IN023) has redundant backups in case of a power outage or other issue. This is due to its thermoelectric cooling technology.
  • If there is a problem with your IN023 or a different unit, you might have to wait for a professional technician. Serviceability is a key component for our customers--luckily, most maintenance can be done in-house without having to wait.
  • Built with coated coils to prevent corrosion from insects, and a secondary safety high temperature cut-off switch to protect insects.
  • Humidification via customer-supplied pans of water.
  • Reducing your overall energy load both directly and indirectly can save you countless dollars over time. The IN series is designed for efficiency and can be placed just about anywhere in a lab.
  • Timed Lighting ON/OFF, non dimmable, Full glass door, Decontamination cycle, Access Port.
  • Capable of temperatures in the range of 16C to 40C with built in Fuji alarm to sound when chamber falls out of the user setpoint.

Common applications of insect rearing chambers include ecological studies, honey production from bees, fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster) behavior and production, and other areas of research. The crucial component is to make sure that your chamber is set up to suit your needs and goals.

The IN023 is not only affordable, but efficient as far as insect rearing chambers go. For schools, research institutions, and other organizations, the budget-friendly costs of the IN023 are unparalleled in the insect rearing chamber industry.

If you need an insect rearing chamber, you can't go wrong with the IN023. Contact Darwin Chambers today to learn more about our capabilities and how we can help find you an insect rearing chamber that meets your needs.

Ready to Learn More about Insect Rearing Chambers?

Reach out to Darwin Chambers now for more information about how we can make your lab work as efficiently and practically as possible. You can fill out our form or call our experts directly at 314-534-3111 for more information.


What Are Freeze Thaw Chambers?


For food and beverage companies, the pharmaceutical industry, biotech, and others, freeze thaw chambers are shown to provide stable and quality product testing through both freezing and thawing cycles. As a leader in custom controlled environment rooms and temperature-controlled chambers, Darwin Chambers is poised to become one of the forerunners for freeze thaw chambers.

According to a recent report about market conditions and forecasts, Darwin Chambers is already adapting to the market.

Advancements in technology are definitely behind freeze thaw chambers and their prominence in various fields of product research. The latest systems allow for better monitoring, temperature and humidity control, and data collection. The CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for freeze thaw chambers has increased dramatically throughout the past few years. It's important to consider demand and application (i.e. biotech and pharmaceuticals) testing, storage, and other factors.

What Are Freeze Thaw Chambers?

Also known as freeze-thaw cycling chambers, these environmental rooms and chambers are specialized testing devices used to simulate specific conditions in order to test products, materials, and components through freezing and thawing cycles. Research is typically meant to replicate what happens in natural conditions but in an abbreviated timespan. Results can show degradation by employing repeated freeze-thaw cycles (cracking, delamination, operational malfunctions, etc.). With a freeze thaw chamber, you can control temperature, humidity, the cycling rate, and other functions to thoroughly conduct your research.

Basically, freeze thaw chambers are crucial in research, development, and quality assurance. They provide valuable insights into the behavior and performance of materials and products that are subjected (and tested) in harsh environmental conditions. The means to the end results in improved product durability, reliability, and safety.

There are a few reasons cycle-based freeze-thaw chambers have become relevant over the past few years. These include:

  1. Temperature Cycling: Besides freezing and thawing, these chambers can simulate a wide range of temperature fluctuations to assess material performance under various thermal conditions.
  2. Environmental Control: Advanced chambers may allow control over other environmental factors, such as humidity levels, UV exposure, and atmospheric gasses, to replicate specific environmental conditions accurately.
  3. Customization: Manufacturers may offer customization options for freeze-thaw chambers to meet specific testing requirements, including chamber size, temperature range, cycling frequency, and additional features tailored to the application needs.
  4. Compliance Testing: Freeze-thaw chambers are often used for compliance testing to ensure that materials and products meet industry standards, regulations, and performance specifications related to durability and environmental resistance.

Freeze-thaw chambers provide a versatile and reliable testing solution for assessing the durability and performance of materials and products subjected to freezing and thawing conditions, making them essential tools in various industries involved in product development, research, and quality assurance. Darwin Chambers is here to help you get the best, most efficient and accurate equipment as possible. Daily, our team is investigating freeze-thaw techniques and finding solutions for producers around the globe. Don't hesitate to contact us today for more information.


Insect Rearing Chambers Market Size, Share, and Trends Analysis


Insect rearing chambers, also known as insect growth chambers, are specialized chambers used for the controlled rearing of various insect species. These chambers provide an environment with controlled temperature, humidity, light, and ventilation to simulate the natural habitats of insects and promote their growth and development. Insect rearing chambers are widely used in research institutes, universities, and commercial insectaries for a variety of purposes such as studying insect behavior, conducting experiments, producing large quantities of insects for use in pest management, and rearing insects for scientific and educational purposes.

The global insect rearing chambers market is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years. The increasing demand for insects in various industries such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and animal feed is a key factor driving the market growth. Insect rearing chambers provide a controlled environment for mass production of insects, which is essential for meeting the increasing demand.

Furthermore, the growing awareness about the benefits of insects as a sustainable source of protein and their potential applications in food and feed production are also contributing to the market growth. Insect rearing chambers play a crucial role in large-scale insect production for use in these industries.

In terms of trends, there is a rising adoption of advanced technologies in insect rearing chambers, such as automated monitoring and control systems, to enhance the efficiency and productivity of insect rearing processes. Additionally, there is a growing focus on developing customized rearing chambers for specific insect species, which cater to the unique requirements of their lifecycle and environmental conditions.

Overall, the insect rearing chambers market is projected to experience significant growth in the forecast period, driven by the increasing demand for insects in various industries and the adoption of advanced technologies in rearing practices. The market is expected to grow during this period.

Insect Rearing Chambers Major Market Players

Darwin Chambers is a leading player in the insect rearing chambers market. The company has been operating in the market for several years and is known for its high-quality and innovative products. Darwin Chambers has a strong presence in the North American market and has been continuously expanding its market reach globally. The company has been focusing on research and development activities to introduce advanced technologies in its products, thereby ensuring its competitiveness in the market. The market growth for Darwin Chambers has been steady, driven by increasing demand for insect rearing chambers in the pharmaceutical, research, and agricultural industries.

What Are The Key Opportunities For Insect Rearing Chambers Manufacturers?

Insect rearing chambers are specially designed chambers used for the controlled rearing and breeding of various insect species. The market for insect rearing chambers is experiencing significant growth due to the increasing demand for biological pest control solutions and the growing interest in insects for food and feed. Additionally, scientific research and advancements in insect rearing techniques are also driving the market's growth. The future outlook for the insect rearing chambers market looks promising, as the need for sustainable and eco-friendly pest control methods continues to rise. Additionally, the increasing popularity of edible insects is expected to further fuel the market's growth in the coming years.

Market Segmentation

The Insect Rearing Chambers Market Analysis by types is segmented into:

  • Small Size
  • Medium Size
  • Large Size

Insect rearing chambers are available in different sizes to cater to the varying needs and demands of customers. Small-sized chambers are suitable for individuals or small-scale operations, offering a compact and cost-effective solution for rearing insects. Medium-sized chambers are designed for moderate-scale operations, providing a balance between capacity and affordability. Large-sized chambers are ideal for large-scale insect rearing facilities, offering ample space to accommodate a significant number of insects. These different market types allow customers to choose the chamber size that best suits their specific requirements and production capacities.

The Insect Rearing Chambers Market Industry Research by Application is segmented into:

  • University Laboratory
  • Research Institute Laboratory
  • Others

The insect rearing chambers market finds applications in various settings, such as university laboratory, research institute laboratory, and others. In university laboratories, these chambers are used to study the behavior, physiology, and genetics of insects, providing insights into their biology and ecology. Research institute laboratories employ insect rearing chambers to conduct experiments on insect pests, insect-plant interactions, and develop insect-based biological control methods. Other settings like agricultural facilities and pharmaceutical companies may also benefit from these chambers for insect breeding, production of insect-derived products, and research on insect-borne diseases.

The global insect rearing chambers market is poised for substantial growth across various regions, including North America (NA), Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, the United States (USA), and China. With increasing demand for alternative protein sources and advancements in insect farming technologies, these regions are expected to dominate the market. Currently, North America holds the largest market share, accounting for approximately 35% of the market value. However, Asia Pacific is projected to witness the highest growth rate, driven by the rising consumption of insects in the food and feed sectors.


Darwin Partners with African Parks' Shoebill Conservation Efforts


Darwin Chambers strives to empower our customers to do the work they care about by giving them the tools they need to get the job done. We've recently heard back from one of our partners who uses our portable incubators for their conservation work in the wetlands of Bangweulu in north-eastern Zambia. You can read more about their story below.

Darwin Partners With Shoebill Conservation Efforts in African Wetlands

Darwin Chambers recently had the opportunity to work with African Parks, a non-profit conservation organization that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in Africa in partnership with governments and local communities.

One of their efforts involves sustaining a Shoebill Stork population that's classified as "vulnerable." African Parks' aim is to increase the Shoebill population by collecting one egg from nests which carry two eggs. They then rear that hatchling in captivity until they are ready to be released back to the wetlands.

Shoebill chicks often kill smaller siblings or push them out of the nest. Without African Parks' intervention, many Shoebill chicks are unnecessarily lost to the population forever.

Sustaining Shoebills: A Unique Bird Presents a Unique Problem

African Parks developed the Shoebill Nest Protection Programme in 2012, to ensure the protection of the Bangweulu Wetlands Game Management Area’s threatened Shoebills. The Shoebill habitat covers 3,000km² of wetland. This means Shoebill nests are often very far away and logistically challenging to reach. African Parks' closest rescue this past year was 8 hours away by canoe. Once they reach a nest, African Parks needs a dependable portable incubator to keep the Shoebill egg viable on the long trip home, with a battery life to match.

African Parks first reached out to Darwin Chambers in January of 2022. We were very eager to help support this program and offered an NQ16Plus portable incubator and battery to be able to make these long trips possible. In 2023, with determination and the invaluable NQ16Plus unit, African Parks managed to harvest two eggs from separate nests, both of which hatched in a Darwin Chambers' portable incubator on the way to the facility. African parks currently has six healthy chicks that are now being prepared for their release back into the wild in 2024.

Despite these successes, African Parks has had to pass up several opportunities for more egg harvests because the battery pack for their incubators wouldn't last long enough. To continue supporting the Shoebill initiative and rebalancing the Shoebill population, Darwin Chambers has offered to send an additional NQ16Plus battery pack to African Parks so they'll have the technology they need to do their much-needed work.

To see more about this incredible initiative, visit africanparks.org or check out their Facebook or Instagram page.

About Darwin's Portable Incubators

Designed with the challenges of fieldwork in mind, the NQ16Plus ensures that samples are transported safely, eliminating the risk of blood or hazardous chemicals entering the component case. The secure latch lid further enhances safety by preventing accidental openings during transportation. Its top-opening, hinged and latch design, combined with durable handles, make it ideal for carrying and transport.

Contact Our Team

Have questions about how our products can help you with your study or which chamber model is right for your application? Our experts are standing by and ready to help you navigate this important decision. Give us a call at (314) 534-3111 or reach out online now.


Darwin Chambers Incubator Featured in Drosophila Study Published in Nature


Scientific studies are the vehicle by which we, as a society, move forward. They make our lives and our jobs easier and more comfortable. Darwin Chambers’ job is to make those scientific studies not only possible, but efficacious.

Our environmental chambers were recently used to conduct a peer-reviewed study published in the Nature scientific journal from publisher Springer Nature. Learn about the study, see the published article, or contact the Darwin Chambers team today.

Drosophila Study Examining the Effect of Temperature on Male Reproduction

In the study, researchers investigated the effects of different temperatures on male fertility using drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) as specimen. They observed that when adult male flies were exposed to warm temperatures (29 °C), their fertility was drastically reduced. The study revealed that this decrease in fertility was due to both low sperm abundance and poor sperm quality.

View or download report

You can also read the article here.

Researchers utilized Darwin Chambers insect incubators to control and manipulate conditions for the experiment. The drosophila stocks were incubated for varying lengths of time at temperatures between 18°C to 29 °C. Humidity was set at a consistent 80% and light was set to a 12 hour light-dark cycle. This, like so many other studies was all made possible by the chambers we have engineered for the specific application of working with fruit flies.

The research highlights the detrimental impact of elevated temperatures on male fertility in Drosophila and other insects. It emphasizes the need to understand the physiological and reproductive responses of organisms to changing environmental conditions, particularly in light of the negative consequences on public health, economics, and ecology associated with compromised insect reproduction.

Drosophila Incubators

Scientists have been using drosophila melanogaster, or fruit flies, for biological research for more than one hundred years. They have been integral to the advances in our understanding of genetics, and controlled environments like the insect incubators make these studies possible.

Learn more about our reach-in insect incubators, including the IN and INR, or any of our other environmental chambers. Or start shopping our reach-in chambers, portables, and parts online now. And when your research demands more space, check out our walk-in chambers for insect rearing and other applications.

Contact Our Team

Have questions about how our products can help you with your study or which chamber model is right for your application? Our experts are standing by and ready to help you navigate this important decision. Give us a call at (314) 534-3111 or reach out online now.


Darwin Chambers Partners with UPS to Reduce Carbon Footprint


Darwin Chambers Company has partnered with UPS in their Carbon Neutral Program, striving to lower carbon emissions and reduce our company’s carbon impact on the environment. Any UPS shipment you receive from our company is part of a program created to offset the carbon impact of the shipment. This means Darwin Chambers cares about climate change and wants others to be aware of this commitment.

How does it work? UPS calculates our carbon output, tracking monthly emissions by metric ton and puts the funds collected from Darwin Chambers towards the offset.

Darwin Chambers Partners with UPS to Reduce Carbon Footprint | Darwin Chambers Company

UPS's carbon neutral program supports projects that offset the emissions of the shipment's transport. UPS has supported projects that include reforestation, landfill gas destruction, wastewater treatment, and methane destruction.

UPS carbon neutral program is verified by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), an inspection, testing, and verification company. This means that you can have confidence in the UPS carbon neutral method. Additionally, our carbon offset process is certified by The CarbonNeutral Company.


Darwin Chambers Works with Saint Louis Bank


Darwin Chambers and Saint Louis Bank

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with the good people of Saint Louis Bank to reflect on our experience working together throughout the evolution of Darwin Chambers. We have been serving the needs of researchers, manufacturers and other operations through our top-of-the-line, precision-controlled environment chambers for more than twenty years. Saint Louis Bank helped make it possible for our team to pursue our passions and provide quality equipment to the scientific community throughout the United States and across the globe.

About Saint Louis Bank

Locally owned and operated by Saint Louis Bancshares, Inc., Saint Louis Bank is dedicated to being the banking partner for budding entrepreneurs and small to mid-sized businesses in the St. Louis region. We are invested in the long-term success of our clients, motivated by the belief that when they achieve their dreams, our entire region wins.


CDC Recommendations on How to Combat Coronavirus and How Darwin can Help


Darwin's HH Low Temperature Ovens can help with face mask decontamination during the Coronavirus pandemic. With face mask shortages, the CDC recommends an effective way to decontaminate face masks is with heat and humidity.

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How Darwin Can Help with Coronavirus Outbreak


With face mask shortages due to the Coronavirus, scientists from Stanford have conducted a study confirming that the N95 masks can be decontaminated. Therefore, the masks are suitable for reuse. The HT09 can also help decontaminate tools, airport security items, safety glasses, gloves, and much more.

Check out this article about a study that researchers at Stanford University performed confirming the above information

To read: Stanford Study

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Darwin CONNECTS with VWR


Darwin Chambers CONNECTS with VWR at the VWR Avantor America Sales Conference in Orlando, FL

Kevin Barnett, Manager and Krissie McGrath, Director of Sales proudly represented Darwin Chambers Company


Dipping Our Toes into Cryotherapy


Darwin Chambers executives Kevin Barnett, Krissie McGrath, and Brett Allen partner with Trident Cryotherapy to revolutionize the cryo chamber!
Together with Darwin’s cold technology and Trident’s knowledge on the health benefits of cryo treatment, the companies will build the optimal chamber for cryotherapy on humans, producing proven results of decreased inflammation and increased cognitive function, immune function, antioxidant activity, metabolism, performance enhancement, collagen production, and much more!


Increasing Levels of Carbon Dioxide Effecting our Plants?


In an article posted to the St. Louis Public Radio website, written by Eli Chen, we find information on how a study is going to measure the increasing level of carbon dioxides effects on plants. A four-year study starting now, by scientists at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Washington University, is being performed to find out what the effects of long-term exposure to carbon dioxide has on plants. Today carbon dioxide levels are at an all-time high and are only expected to increase if there is continual use of fossil fuels and other natural resources. In this study scientists are monitoring six plant species including moss, tomatoes, and rice to see how an atmosphere with nearly 415 ppm of carbon dioxide affect these plants. This study will provide scientists with important information that will affect energy, fuel, and fiber in the future. Darwin Chambers plant growth chambers are designed specifically for this type of testing.

To get more information go to: St.Louis Public Radio


Buzzkill: Will America's Bees Survive?


(Source: Discover Magazine

Kim Raff
Commercial beekeeper Darren Cox stands among some of his hives in a bee yard in the rich Cache Valley north of Salt Lake City. Bees have been dying at faster rates than normal, as a host of ailments weaken colonies. Photo taken by Kim Raff

Despite all the years, and all the troubles, Darren Cox still likes to put on his bee suit.

A big, block-shaped man in his 50s, Cox sports a bowlish blond haircut and serious demeanor. But when he slips into his protective gear, his netted hat in hand, he offers a rare smile. “Time to get out there,” he says.

It’s a summer day in Cache Valley, an agricultural center set among the mountains of northern Utah. The skyline, composed of peaks popping with shimmering green, speaks resoundingly of life, vibrant and fertile. Several years ago, Cox and his wife built a beautiful house here, so high up that eagles soared within feet of the living room windows. But for Cox, a commercial beekeeper fighting for his livelihood, these days even his Valhalla strikes a sour note.

“When we first got here,” Cox tells me, “there was so much wildlife. Fox and deer. Every bird you can imagine. You don’t see wildlife like you did anymore. Where’d it all go?”

Cox keeps his “livestock” in so-called bee yards placed throughout the area. Today he’ll visit them, winding through deep valleys, up tall mountains and into one of the most perplexing questions in science: What is killing our honeybees — and can we stop it?

Wild and domestic bees are both in deep trouble. Colony losses among commercial beekeepers reach 30, 40, even 50 percent or more annually, a pace that threatens the beekeeping and agricultural industries — and everyone who eats. Bees pollinate some $30 billion in U.S. crops each year, including most fruits and leafy greens, playing a critical role in human health.

A worker bee gathers nectar from a purple coneflower. Scientists are trying to figure out which factors — viruses, pesticides or a combination — weaken bees’ immune systems. Photo taken by: Alex Wild

The trouble started about 10 years ago, when beekeepers around the world began reporting a mysterious phenomenon: Bees that had been healthy simply disappeared, leaving no dead bodies for study. The crisis was called colony collapse disorder (CCD). And as scientific wisdom has it, the CCD crisis is over. Bees no longer just “disappear.” Instead, they die at far faster rates than normal as a host of other ailments, such as deformed wing virus and deadly pathogens, exact a toll.

Cox’s bees don’t produce the same honey yields they did before. Queen bees struggle to survive even a third of their normal life spans, leaving beekeepers in a constant battle to replace them. According to Cox and other beekeepers, classic CCD is back, too.

In the summer of 2015, Cox showed me several hives that bore the standard signs: healthy brood; good stores of pollen and nectar, or “bee food,” and little else; a few straggling workers, maybe 10 percent of the population he had last week; and a big queen, running around her now-empty castle like a mom, knowing that without her stable of workers she’ll be unable to feed her babies.

“Our bees are manifesting a bunch of different symptoms,” Cox says as he kicks a beat-up Ford flatbed truck into gear. “Bees are dying, but what people are missing is that bees are also weakening.”

http://discovermagazine.com/2017/march/buzzkill
The map below shows the results of an annual survey of beekeepers and their bee colony losses. The chart tracks winter losses in the U.S. in the past decade, as well as annual losses since 2010-2011. The Bee Informed Partnership, a research consortium based at the University of Maryland, tracks mortality rates, rather than overall population, to get a more accurate sense of colony turnover year to year.  Alison Mackey/Discover after Bee Informed

As president of American Honey Producers, a trade association for beekeepers, Cox hears this from numerous members. In honeybee years, we are many generations on from the inception of the crisis, and bees themselves seem different, weaker. “They don’t have as much vigor,” says Cox.

For Cox and other beekeepers, the long, reasoned march of science looks more like a slow hair-pull, in which a difficult scientific problem is rendered almost impossible to resolve by the toxic influences of politics and money.

Enlightenment and Paradox

In the early years of the bee crisis, beekeepers looked to science as their savior. “We believed that government, the media and, most importantly, scientists were focused,” says Cox. “If a solution to this problem existed, we figured it would be found and acted on.”

Ten years on, however, beekeepers have grown frustrated because the field seems stuck in the fact-gathering stage.

The reasons for overall bee declines are broadly understood: diminished bee habitat; the Varroa destructor, a nasty parasitic mite; viruses and pathogens; and agricultural chemicals, including pesticides, fungicides and insect growth regulators (IGRs). But the problem of declining bee health might actually be getting worse, largely because the factor of agricultural chemicals lies at the nexus of science, finance and politics. Much of the controversy, and concern, has centered around a particular class of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonic for short), which yield billions in revenue for chemical-makers.

The resulting conflict is best framed, reports E.G. Vallianatos, a scientist retired from the Environmental Protection Agency, by what he calls the “Rachel Carson paradox.” Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, documented the pernicious effects of agricultural chemicals and served as a rallying point for the modern environmental movement. But more than 50 years later, Vallianatos expresses disappointment. “Everyone acts like the book was responsible for a new dawn,” says Vallianatos. “But did anyone actually read it?”

http://discovermagazine.com/2017/march/buzzkill
Bees born with deformed wing virus emerge with crumpled, misshapen wings and die within days. The virus is one of several closely associated with Varroa infestations.
Bee Informed Partnership

Carson’s argument was fundamental: Because pests and weeds quickly develop resistance, chemical pesticides create a kind of arms race. We apply increasingly toxic concoctions in greater amounts, and bugs and weeds evolve and rally.

Time has proven her right. Today we pump roughly 2.5 times more chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides into the environment than we did when Silent Spring was published. But the number of regulatory labs has decreased, leaving more chemical inputs in the environment and far fewer scientists to study them.

The standard rebuttal is that modern pesticides are better targeted toward pests. But this doesn’t capture the plight of the bee, or government regulators. One of the most important papers in the field of bee declines, co-authored by then-USDA scientist Jeffrey Pettis in 2010, drew comb and wax samples from beehives in 23 U.S. states, finding an average of six different pesticides in each and as many as 39.

Numerous scientists I interviewed — from entomologist John Tooker at Penn State University, to Galen Dively and prominent entomologist Dennis vanEngelsdorp at the University of Maryland, to Pettis and others — said the number of chemicals in our environment is so vast that assessing all of their possible interactions is virtually impossible.

“Just think back to your chemistry classes,” Susan Kegley, a chemist and CEO of the environmental consulting firm Pesticide Research Institute, told me. “You combine three chemicals and nothing happens, but if you introduce them in a different order, you get a big reaction. So as a scientist working on this problem of bee declines, you have to choose which pesticides, how much and the order of introduction. Then you have to acknowledge everything you might be missing if you’d changed even one of these variables, however slightly.”

Scientists are doing what science does best: isolating specific interactions of chemical and bee in the lab while understanding they might miss important synergies among other variables. Thus far, the scrutiny has settled on one particular class of pesticide, yielding significant results. But in a development that shows just how politics creep into science, the data hasn’t ruled the day. The result has been gridlock.

A Complicated Picture

The confidence beekeepers once felt that the crisis would be resolved peaked in 2009 at Apimondia, the largest international gathering of beekeepers.

Two of the world’s most respected entomologists — Pettis, then research leader at the USDA’s Beltsville Bee Laboratory, and vanEngelsdorp, then at Penn State — there revealed the early results of an experiment they’d just completed.

In a conversation included in the documentary The Strange Disappearance of the Bees, both scientists appeared visibly excited. They had looked into the danger that a widely used class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, might pose to bees. 

http://discovermagazine.com/2017/march/buzzkill
Dozens of dead worker bees lie headfirst in a hive. High mortality rates still affect bee colonies around the U.S. Photo taken by Alex Wild

“We’re finding that virus levels are much higher in CCD bees,” vanEngelsdorp says in the film, “but since we are not finding a consistent virus or a consistent pathogen, that implies that something else is happening underneath it. Something is breaking down their immune system, or somehow challenging them so that they are more susceptible to disease.”

The pair fed neonics to bees, then exposed that group and a neonic-free control group to Nosema, a common gut pathogen in the honeybee. The bees fed neonics proved more susceptible to Nosema. And the effect was consistent even when bees received neonics in amounts too small to be detected in their system. “The only reason we knew the bees had exposure [to neonicotinoid pesticides],” says vanEngelsdorp, “is because we exposed them.”

Beekeepers rejoiced. “They really sounded like they found something big,” says Dave Hackenberg, a central Pennsylvania beekeeper. “They were like, ‘This is it.’ ”

“We really felt confident,” says Bret Adee, co-owner of Adee Honey Farms in South Dakota. “These were the guys everyone would listen to, and now we were going to get something done.” But nothing happened.

(44 percent of colonies were lost in 2015-2016.)

A confirming study surfaced quickly; a French team of scientists actually beat vanEngelsdorp and Pettis into print. But neonics remained in wide use. The deluge beekeepers expected — of scientists, nailing down the problem, of regulatory agencies, rushing to act — never materialized. And today, the neonic lies right at the heart of that Rachel Carson paradox.

Neonics are what’s known as a systemic insecticide, meaning they spread throughout the tissue, pollen and nectar of the treated plant. Companies, including Bayer and Syngenta, create varying formulas of neonics, which can be applied to seeds or growing crops. The neonic entered broad use in the U.S. in the late 1990s and quickly became ubiquitous, used on millions of acres of corn, cotton, soybeans, canola and more, accounting for about $2.5 billion in sales.

Jay Vroom, CEO and spokesman at CropLife America, a trade partnership of seed and pesticide manufacturers, says studies measuring the effect of neonics on bees in field conditions “consistently demonstrate no negative effects.”

Scientists say the picture is complicated. Regulatory agencies devote most of their energy to answering two questions: How much of a given chemical is required to kill a non-target insect outright, and how likely is it that beneficial species will encounter a dose that big? Sublethal effects are treated as less urgent, yet neonics subject bees to a variety of sublethal effects with long-term, fatal consequences.

Neonics have been demonstrated to impair the honeybee’s foraging capabilities, memory and navigation systems, undermining their ability to survive and aid their hive. In one study, led by French scientist Mickaël Henry, researchers tagged honeybees with GPS trackers and released them. Some bees received a dose of neonic equal to real-world exposures while the controls received no neonics. The bees fed pesticide proved two to three times more likely to die without returning to the hive and sharing their food.

Such deaths can add up. Honeybee colonies can total tens of thousands of bees, enough to withstand natural cyclical losses. But foraging bees last only a few weeks at best. Early deaths force premature worker bees out to forage, leading to a weaker colony of weaker bees.

To keep reading more go to: Discover Magazine // Buzzkill 


How Heat from the Sun Can Keep Us All Cool


(Source: Scientific American & Nature)

At Hotel Star Sapphire in Dawei, Myanmar, guests sip from coconuts in cool, air-conditioned comfort as the steamy tropical night rolls on. Seven thousand kilometers to the west, in dry Khartoum, Sudan, patients rest in a United Nations Hospital, cocooned from the baking desert heat.

In both buildings, the pleasant conditions come courtesy of air-conditioning units that rely in part on dark glass tubes that turn sunlight into cooling power. These aren’t the familiar solar panels that harvest light to make electricity. Instead, they harness heat from the Sun to chill buildings through a neat bit of thermodynamic sleight of hand. Researchers and some energy experts say that this form of cooling — known as solar thermal — could help to slake the growing global demand for fuel to run energy-hungry air conditioning. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that by 2100, the need for electricity to power cooling will have surged to more than 30 times what it was in 2000.

Photo Credit: Slimdandy Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Hopeful that solar-thermal technology is nearing a crucial turning point, research groups are showing off their systems at a growing number of hotels, shopping centres and other buildings across the world. Today, there are some 1,200 installations — more than 10 times the total from a decade ago. Companies that produce solar-thermal chillers say that they use 30–90% less electricity than the conventional air conditioners that operate in most buildings, depending on the type and size of the installation. And researchers are working to make the systems more efficient and cheaper to build.

But the technology faces daunting hurdles, and some experts doubt that it will ever be more than niche in a world that each year adds 100 million conventional air conditioners, which rely on compressors powered by electricity. Solar-thermal chillers are just too expensive, typically costing about five times more than conventional ones, says Daniel Mugnier, an engineer with the solar-technologies company Tecsol in Perpignan, France. Although the price is dropping, the technology lacks the subsidies and investment it needs to make it more competitive, he says.

That is a pity, he adds, because thermal systems have several advantages. They could lower peak demand on the electrical grid, reducing blackouts and the need to tap dirtier energy sources. They are also silent, and typically use environmentally friendly refrigerants — a point that took on new importance in October, when more than 170 countries agreed to phase out the hydrofluorocarbon chemicals used in most air conditioners and refrigerators. And solar heat is available in large quantities just where demand for cooling is highest. “It’s almost like a marriage made in heaven,” says Christos Markides, a solar researcher at Imperial College London.

ALL IN THE PHASE

The key to air conditioning is evaporation: the cooling occurs when a liquid absorbs energy from its surroundings and changes phase to evaporate as a gas. That’s how perspiration cools our bodies and it also happens in nearly every air conditioner, from small window units to the 8-meter-long giants used to chill large buildings in Qatar.

In modern electrical air conditioners, a liquid refrigerant is forced through a small nozzle into a large chamber. That causes its pressure to plummet, so it evaporates rapidly and removes heat from the indoor air. The gaseous refrigerant then travels to another chamber, where a mechanical compressor powered by electricity squeezes the gas to drive up its temperature further. That hot, gaseous refrigerant then passes through a condenser — often a coil of thin tubing — where it changes back into a liquid and expels heat outdoors. The liquid refrigerant is then squirted back into the evaporation chamber and the cycle repeats.

The gas-squeezing step is needed because to shed heat outdoors efficiently, the refrigerant must be very hot before it goes through the condenser, explains Colin Chia, co-founder of the Singaporean company Ecoline, which developed Hotel Star Sapphire’s air-conditioning system. In electrical units, this is done mechanically. But there is another way — simply using heat.

One of the oldest air conditioners to be built on this principle burned wood to supply the heat and was introduced at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1878. It was “a marvellous old machine”, says Christian Holter, chief executive of SOLID, a company in Graz, Austria, that specializes in large-scale solar-thermal cooling and heating systems. Called absorption chillers, the devices use heat from the Sun to boil the refrigerant out of a solution — typically water from a salt solution, or ammonia gas from water. Then the gaseous refrigerant goes through condensation and evaporation stages similar to those in compression systems.

Two Ways To Chill Diagram: Credit: Nature, Jan. 31 2017, doi: 10.1038/542023a

Compression dominates the market because “it is easy to buy, plug and start”, says Holter. But as far back as the 1980s, growing concern over the ozone-depleting refrigerants used in compression air conditioners revived interest in thermal systems. They never caught on, however, because they could not compete with those powered by cheap electricity and because their heat source — burning biomass or natural gas — is difficult to manage.

Heat from the Sun doesn’t have those problems. In modern solar-thermal systems, special collecting tubes or plates absorb energy from the Sun’s rays and then transfer that heat to an absorption chiller. So far, SOLID has installed large-scale systems in 18 schools, offices and warehouses in 10 countries. One of these, the world’s largest solar-thermal cooling system so far, has since 2014 been chilling a high school in Arizona, where air conditioning typically makes up a significant fraction of an annual electricity bill.

Academic researchers and companies are also trying to improve performance in other ways. Most absorption chillers, including SOLID’s, heat the refrigerants to around 80 °C. If the temperature could be raised to 120–170 °C, then more refrigerant would evaporate and circulate as gas in the system at the same time, making the unit more efficient.

That means the solar collector must concentrate the Sun’s heat more effectively. Some specialized collectors can follow the Sun and achieve temperatures of up to 400 °C, but they are expensive. To develop a cheaper alternative, a team led by engineer Roland Winston at the University of California, Merced, is improving the design of the collecting tubes. The team’s tubes contain a special metallic piece that transfers heat rapidly to a glycol fluid in an inner copper pipe.

Winston’s team also puts curved sheets of reflective material under the outer tubes, which helps them gather solar energy as the Sun moves through the sky. The system can heat the glycol to 200 °C and is now being tested with different chillers.

Other teams are leaving absorption chillers behind and building entirely new systems. A group led by Stephen White at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Newcastle, Australia, has developed a desiccant-wheel system that since June 2016 has been cooling a shopping centre in Ballarat, Victoria. First, ambient air passes through a slowly rotating wheel containing a material that adsorbs moisture, leaving the air hot and dry. This dry air moves into a chamber where it causes water to evaporate, thereby lowering the temperature. The chilled, moist air is used to cool air from the building that runs through a separate conduit. That moist air is then expelled outside, and solar heat is used to dry the moisture-adsorbing material in the wheel.

Fresh approaches are in order because absorption chillers are expensive and complicated to build, says Mike Dennis, a private solar consultant in Canberra. “They don’t make any sense,” he says. It is easier to use photovoltaic panels to turn sunlight into electricity, which can then run standard compression air conditioners. Falling prices for photovoltaics are making that kind of system increasingly attractive.

Photovoltaics now benefit from economies of scale, as well as from massive government subsidies and investments that solar-thermal technologies do not have, says Mugnier. “My fear is that the competition is unfair.”

Another approach is to create a hybrid: a conventional electrical compression machine that uses heat from the Sun to help the energy-guzzling compressor. Ecoline’s air-conditioning system at Hotel Star Sapphire is an example.

To create the system, Chia inserted a U-shaped loop of copper into each solar collector tube and then linked up the copper pipes into a long ribbon. Glycol inside the pipes quickly transfers heat from the tubes to a glycol tank. Another set of copper pipes containing refrigerant snakes through the tank, heating up the refrigerant. The refrigerant then passes through a compressor. It turns into a gas much more easily than in a standard system because it’s already piping hot.

The company has installed more than 1,000 air-conditioning units in 6 countries and, in mid-2018, will be air conditioning a dormitory at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. In side-by-side tests, Ecoline says, its air conditioner delivered 35% energy savings compared with a standard high-efficiency air conditioner. The hybrid systems cost 15% more to install but are cheaper to run and recoup the extra expense in 2 years, based on electricity prices in Singapore, says Chia.

Proponents are confident that costs would drop significantly if the market for solar thermal expanded. Winston’s postdoc Lun Jiang notes that in the 1990s, evacuated tubes used for solar water heating cost more than US$100 per meter, but they now cost just $2–3 because of mass production driven by widespread use of the systems in China.

Others say that thermal technologies can access waste heat that photovoltaics, which collect only light, cannot. They could mop up energy that concentrates in hot cities, industrial plants and data centres. In fact, Ecoline is now working with a data-centre management company in Indonesia to cool facilities using its own waste heat.

That kind of approach makes good thermal sense, says Chia. “The hotter the better.”


U.S. Lists a Bumble Bee Species as Endangered for First Time


(Source: Scientific American)

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-lists-a-bumble-bee-species-as-endangered-for-first-time/
Photo Credit Wikimedia

The rusty patched bumble bee, a prized but vanishing pollinator once familiar to much of North America, was listed on Tuesday as an endangered species, becoming the first wild bee in the continental United States to gain such federal protection.

One of several species facing sharp declines, the bumble bee known to scientists as Bombus affinis has plunged nearly 90 percent in abundance and distribution since the late 1990s, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The agency listed the insect after determining it to be in danger of extinction across all or portions of its range, attributing its decline to a mix of factors, including disease, pesticides, climate change and habitat loss.

Named for the conspicuous reddish blotch on its abdomen, the rusty patched bumble bee once flourished across 28 states, primarily in the upper Midwest and Northeast -- from South Dakota to Connecticut -- and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

 

Today, only a few small, scattered populations remain in 13 states and Ontario, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.
The agency in September listed seven varieties of yellow-faced, or masked, bees in Hawaii as endangered. But Bombus affinis is the first bumble bee species to given that status, and the first wild bee of any kind to be listed in the Lower 48 states.

Bumble bees, as distinguished from domesticated honey bees, are essential pollinators of wildflowers and about a third of all U.S. crops, from blueberries to tomatoes, according to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which petitioned the government for protection of the insect.

Pollination services furnished by various insects in the United States, mostly by bees, have been valued at an estimated $3 billion each year.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature ranks the rusty patched as one of 47 species of native U.S. and Canadian bumble bees, more than a quarter of which face a risk of extinction.
Government scientists point to a certain class of pesticides called neonicotinoids -- widely used on crops, lawns, gardens and forests -- as posing a particular threat to bees because they are absorbed into a plant's entire system, including leaf tissue, nectar and pollen.

Bumble bee populations may be especially vulnerable to pesticides applied early in the year because for one month an entire colony depends on the success of a solitary queen that emerges from winter dormancy, the wildlife service said.

Listing under the Endangered Species Act generally restricts activities known to harm the creature in question and requires the government to prepare a recovery plan. It also raises awareness and helps focus conservation planning for the imperiled species.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler)


Congress approves deal to keep government open, fight Zika


(Source: USAToday)

WASHINGTON — Congress approved a stop-gap spending deal Wednesday to avert a government shutdown and provide $1.1 billion in long-awaited aid to combat the Zika virus.

The House voted 342-85 to pass the legislation, which will keep the government funded through Dec. 9 and give lawmakers time to work out a long-term spending bill for the fiscal 2017 year that begins Saturday. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 72-26 earlier in the day, clearing the way for Congress to leave town until after the Nov. 8 election.

The White House issued a statement Wednesday saying that it supports the compromise bill, which President Obama is poised to sign into law no later than Friday.

Without congressional action, federal agencies would have run out of money to operate at midnight Friday, forcing a costly and politically unpopular shutdown just weeks before the election.

"This is an acceptable compromise," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee. "Is it perfect? No. Is it necessary? Absolutely...I look forward to keeping the government open."

Democrats had demanded that any funding deal include money to help replace the water system in Flint, Mich., where thousands of children have been poisoned by the city's lead-contaminated water supply and residents have been forced to bathe in bottled water. Most Democrats, along with a dozen Republicans, defeated efforts Tuesday to pass a government funding bill that did not include Flint aid.

However, Democrats agreed to drop their demand Wednesday after receiving assurances from Republican leaders in the Senate and House that Flint will receive money after the election in a sweeping water bill called the Water Resources Development Act.

"I'm convinced that there is going to be help for Flint," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., after conferring with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The Senate-passed version of that bill includes $220 million to replace Flint's water system. The House voted 399-25 on Wednesday to approve its own bill, including an amendment by Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., to provide $170 million for Flint. Negotiators from the House and Senate will work out a final bill in November or December. Senators and House members would then vote on the compromise.

"I made it clear (to House leaders) that I was very serious about defending the Senate position...and ensuring that Flint funding remains in the bill," McConnell said.

Michigan Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both Democrats, voted against the compromise spending bill Wednesday, saying it's unfair that Flint residents have to wait longer for help than other disaster victims. The bill provides $500 million in immediate aid to flood victims in Louisiana, West Virginia and Maryland.

"My position on the government funding bill remains the same: I will vote no on any (bill) that does not treat communities equally," Stabenow said. "It is wrong to ask families in Flint to wait at the back of the line again."

The controversy over Flint was the last major stumbling block to an agreement to keep the government open.

An earlier dispute between Republicans and Democrats over Zika funding was resolved last week when Republicans agreed to provide $1.1 billion to combat the virus without "poison pill" provisions that would have prevented Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico from receiving federal funds and waived environmental laws governing the use of pesticides. Zika is spread by mosquitoes and through sexual contact.

President Obama has been calling on Congress since February to approve Zika funding. He had sought $1.9 billion.

The bill approved Wednesday includes full 2017 funding of more than $82 billion for military construction and veterans programs and about $7 million over the next 10 weeks to begin paying for new programs approved by Congress to fight heroin addiction and prescription painkiller abuse.

Mikulski said Democrats were not able to convince Republicans to remove a provision that blocks a Securities and Exchange Commission regulation from taking effect. The proposed rule would have required corporations to disclose their political campaign contributions in their annual financial reports to stockholders.

"Americans are fed up with dark money dominating our elections, and the least we can do about it is require public companies to give an accounting to their own shareholders about how much they’re spending on campaigns," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who voted against the funding bill because of the provision.

 


Latex Glove Production Require Tight Control of Humidity and Temperature


(Source: Rotronic)

Designed by Freepik

Latex gloves in general

Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, consists of polymers of the organic compound isoprene, minor impurities of other organic compounds and water. It is harvested mainly in the form of the latex from certain trees. The latex is then refined into rubber ready for commercial processing.

Around 25 million tons of rubber is produced each year, of which 42 percent is natural rubber. Common products manufactured with high end latex include surgeons' gloves, condoms, balloons and other relatively high-value products. Given natural rubber’s physical limitations, the process of vulcanization is used to enhance its resistance, elasticity and durability.

 

Vulcanization

The process of vulcanization was a key advancement in the manufacture of rubber products. During the vulcanization process, latex film is heated where the combination of sulfur, accelerator and heat causes cross-linking of the rubber, providing strength and elasticity to the film. Varying the amount of sulfur and the temperature during vulcanization affects the overall durability of the rubber product.

Why the need to measure humidity and temperature?

Given the water content in natural rubber, failing to carefully regulate both the temperature and humidity of the drying process will result in the soft coagulated rubber becoming blistered or porous. When this happens the surface cracks and deforms.

To prevent this damage occur- ring, the drying process must be consistent and well controlled. Besides maintaining an even temperature with sufficient air circulation within the dryer, the humidity of the air in the dryer must be high enough to prevent the formation of a dry skin on the surface of the rubber before the moisture deeper within the rubber is driven off.

This eliminates any internal stress buildup caused by uneven drying, with less stress-induced cracking thereby reducing product leak test failures. The end result is that higher quality gloves are manufactured with increased production yield.

It is important to note that leak tests are integral to the manufacturing process for latex gloves. Med- ical grade gloves are subjected to more rigorous testing. To ensure the gloves are of the highest quality, manufacturers test them using defined standards from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ATSM). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates these standards.

 


St. Louis and Israel ag tech connection grows stronger


(Source: St. Louis Public Radio)

This article brought to you by St. Louis Public Radio, click the source link above to listen to the interviews!

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-1-49-28-pmTwo years ago BioSTL set out to put St. Louis on Israel’s radar.

The non-profit, founded in 2001, helped develop the support system for St. Louis bioscience startups. Then, a few years ago, president and CEO Donn Rubin started hearing that Israeli startups were expanding into other U.S. cities.

“I looked a little more deeply into that and realized that St. Louis and Israel have some real shared strengths and areas where we excel,” Rubin said. “Both St. Louis and Israel are leaders world-wide in plant science or ag tech.”

So in 2014 he decided to launch an initiative to attract Israeli startups to put their U.S. headquarters in St. Louis.

What became GlobalSTL far exceeded Rubin’s initial expectations. Within days of the team’s first trip, the ag startup Kaiima announced it would put a presence in St. Louis.

“That blew me away and gave me much more confidence that our story can really resonate when we have the opportunity to tell it,” he said.

Since then, three more Israeli ag tech startups have expanded into the city. St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman recently accompanied a St. Louis delegation to Israel, where she had the chance to speak with officials with all four startups.

Kaiima Bio-Agritech is a genetics and breeding technology company.  Vice president of business development Doron Faibish said St. Louis’ ecosystem of biotech scientists, universities, Monsanto and other industry, as well as the Danforth Plant Science Center made St. Louis attractive.

“The second thing was the great support we saw from BioSTL and from additional organizations, including the Jewish community in St. Louis,” Faibish said. “So all the puzzle pieces fell pretty well for us.”

Kaiima currently has four employees in St. Louis, including the head of the company’s breeding program. Faibish said they expect that number to remain steady over the next year.

“Probably by end of next season we’ll be at a decision point. And we believe at that point we will grow,” he said.

Evogene is a genomics company with more than 100 employees. It’s also a partner of Monsanto, and CEO Ofer Haviv said because of that, they were very familiar with St. Louis.

“Probably this is one of the reasons we decided to open our first site in the U.S. in St. Louis, because we know the area, it’s close to Monsanto, but more than this, this area is a hub for agriculture,” he said.

Haviv said at first he was nervous about the expansion into St. Louis, but he’s been pleased with the employees they’ve recruited and the support system for startups.

Today Evogene has 10 employees locally. Haviv said they’re looking at expanding their activities in the U.S. and that could mean more employees in St. Louis.

“I can easily see how it could increase to 20, maybe more in the next few years,” he said.

Forrest Innovations is a biotech startup that uses Ribonucleic Acid Interference (RNAi) technology to address two major areas: disease vectoring mosquitoes and “Citrus Greening,” a bacterial disease that’s devastating the orange industry.

Shaul Ilan, Forrest Innovation’s vice president of business development, said while the startup could have put a presence in Florida, it made more sense to be in an ag tech center such as St. Louis.

“We’ve found a very open community, very advanced and one of top two places for ag tech in the United States, the second only being Davis, California," Ilan said.

Roy Borochov, who is the site lead in the U.S., said he visited several other places before St. Louis was chosen.

“St. Louis gives you a value for money that’s much bigger than any other place, but it’s not only money. The quality of the people is amazing," he said. "The ecosystem in St. Louis is very embracing; helping you in every step you make, assisting everywhere they can.”

Currently Forrest Innovations has three employees based at the Danforth Plant Science Center’s BRDG Park in St. Louis.

NRGene is a genomic big data company that develops advanced computational tools and algorithmic models to help both seed companies and animal breeders.

CEO Gil Ronen said the Midwest was a destination for NRGene from the beginning because the startup was focused on field crops, but St. Louis stood out.

“There are very big companies, there are leading technology companies in agro; farmers, field stations, everything is happening in St. Louis,” Ronen said. “It was a very natural choice for us.”

NRGene is the most recent startup to expand into St. Louis, opening a space here in April. The startup has one full-time employee in St. Louis, but Ronen said they expect to hire four more by the end of the year. All the current positions are in sales, but Ronen said as the startup lands more projects they will need more technical personnel.

“We also expect major deals that will happen soon, and we’ll need technical people and the R&D people…” he said. “We expect to grow from project to project and from customer to customer.” 

St. Louis Public Radio's Maria Altman accompanied an ag tech delegation from St. Louis to both Ireland and Israel. Her trip was funded by donations from the Silk Foundation and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.


Darwin Chambers Goes Green with Solar Panels


(Source: Original Article)

Darwin Chambers Company hsolar-panelsas recently completed a rooftop solar panel project installed by Microgrid Energy. Having unsurpassed expertise, Microgrid Energy has become a leader in todays solar energy world, serving the St. Louis area as well as nationwide.

With this addition of solar panels Darwin Chambers Company has gone green. 255 solar panels helps offset approximately 80% of Darwin Chambers annual electricity usage, as well as about 149,820 pounds of CO₂. All of the solar panels installed produce approximately 98,553 kWh in year 1. On an average day Darwin Chambers Company saves 5 trees, over 100 kg of CO₂, as well as over 700 miles not driven.

 

 

 

 

 


Lab Mice are Freezing Their Asses Off- and That's Screwing Science


(Source: Gizmodo)

Most science labs maintain a temperature far below levels preferred by mice, and it’s taking a toll on their health. New research suggests these chilly mice are skewing science results across a wide range of research areas—and the problem is far worse than anyone realized.

A new paper in Trends in Cancer by researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo shows that environmental factors are impacting the basic biology of mice, in ways that are influencing the outcomes of experiments. The authors also point to serious discrepancies in other research areas, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. These results may explain why so much irreproducibility exists in mouse studies, and why mice often make for unreliable test subjects.

Most labs maintain a temperature between 68 and 78ºF (20-26ºC), which, if you’re a mouse, is bloody cold. Mice like it considerably warmer, around the 86-90ºF (30-32ºC) mark. It’s not that scientists are being unnecessarily cruel—it’s simply not practical for researchers, who often wear gloves and masks when working with animals‚ to work in such stuffy conditions. It also helps keep the smell down.

“Mouse models are invaluable and irreplaceable in preclinical research.”

According to guidelines by the US National Research Council, mice should be housed within the 68 to 78ºF range and given access to nesting material. Unfortunately, these chilly conditions cause their heart rate and metabolism to change, and they consume more food to compensate.

“Mice are able to survive under a wide variety of temperatures, but they are able to move around and alter their environment for their thermal comfort, such as building elaborate and warm nests,” study co-author Bonnie L. Hylander told Gizmodo. “Also, mice are able to nest in large numbers which assists in conserving warmth. Mice in cages are certainly able to maintain health and body temperature, but it takes more energy for them to do so.”

Hylander’s team, along with others, has found that this extra energy usage is influencing the outcome of experiments. These mice must divert energy towards heat production, weakening their immune systems. That’s a problem if you’re a researcher trying to track a mouse’s ability to fight off a disease.

Hylander’s own cancer research showed that the anti-tumor immune response of the mice, along with their response to chemotherapy and radiation, were all affected by housing temperature. In 2013, these same researchers discovered that mice are better at fighting cancer when they’re cozy and warm.

The researchers decided to investigate the growing body of research on mouse housing temperatures in other fields—and they found similar results.

Research areas that have reported discrepancies when mice are housed under standard temperatures (the numbers correspond to citation number in the study). Image: Trends in Cancer.

The team’s review contains not only their own work on cancer, but summarized reviews of the work done by several other investigators in other areas. “Some of the examples in which more significant differences were observed include models of cardiovascular function and obesity, in addition to our work on tumor growth,” Hylander told Gizmodo.

Compounding the problem is that housing temperatures vary between institutes, which may also cause differences in outcomes, and is likely a further source of irreproducibility.

Often, experimental treatments that work fine in one population of mice fail to work in another. These “simplified” models aren’t so simple. Factors that contribute to the irreproducibility problem include food, bedding, exposure to light, and exposure (or lack of exposure) to mice of the opposite sex—even the scientists’ gender.

This is a significant problem given how reliant scientists are on mice for their medical experiments, but the researchers say all’s not lost.

“Right now, it would be important for researchers to be aware of the potential for data skewing and they should report the room temperature at which their mouse experiments were done,” Hylander said. “If it becomes apparent that room temperature is a source of variability in experimental outcomes, then researchers and journals will most likely ask for experiments to be conducted at different temperatures and the outcomes compared.”

Researchers could also keep mice in incubators, and track these results as a unique and separate sample pool. Some labs might even want to just raise the temperature.

“Mouse models are invaluable and irreplaceable in preclinical research,” Hylander said. “But people are always interested in how to improve them.”



Know More than your Boss


(Source: Original Article)

Preface: The goal of the Know More Than Your Boss series of papers is to provide an education
in the intricacies of environmental chamber operation and performance. There is some subjectivity
based on our experience as a manufacturer and servicer of environmental chambers.

Humidification

Do you need humidification?

Everyone knows that to go from 4°C @ 85%RH to 21°C @ 45% you have to remove water molecules from the air (dehumidify), right? Truth is you actually have to add water vapor to (humidify) the air. How can that be? I mean, you ARE going from 85% to 45%. So why does this not make sense?

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It has to do with the “RH” behind the humidity level. RH stands for relative humidity. At each temperature, there is an absolute amount of water vapor that air can carry (termed water vapor capacity). At 4°C, the absolute greatest amount of water the air can carry is roughly 5 grams per kg of air. At 21°C, that same kg of air can carry roughly 16 grams of water. At an even higher temperature like 37°C, the air can carry up to 40 or so grams of water. If any water vapor is introduced to these temperatures in excess of these amounts, you have water forming (or condensing) in the chamber because it can’t hold any more water.

So how do we math this out? This is pretty serious math, so hold on to your bootstraps! Actually, I know this subject doesn’t really keep you up at night. I also know that the last thing you want is to do math and rely on your calculation. So, might I suggest we use a shortcut? That shortcut is a term called “dewpoint”. The dewpoint is the water vapor capacity of the air at a given temperature, hence the reason for the preceding paragraph.

That’s right. Dewpoint is the temperature at which, below that temperature, condensation or “dew” forms. In the preceding paragraph with the 21°C air temperature and 16 grams of water/kg of air…that equals 100% RH. It also equals a 21°C dewpoint. If we sealed that box of air and lowered the temperature, condensation would form. If we raised the temperature, the RH would go down. Regardless, the sealed box would have a 21°C dewpoint. If you raise and lower the temperature of the box a 100 times, water would condense below 21°C and evaporate above it.

So I like really quick math. I hope you do too. My suggestion is to not do the math, but rely on the many dewpoint calculators and apps available. Go to www.dpcalc.org (Shown on top right) or my favorite is the Dew Point Calc app by Unlikely Reality Software (Shown on bottom right). It’s free and lacks any advertisements.

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So back to the hard math…enter in your first temperature and humidity (4°C at 85%RH). This gives a dewpoint of 1.7°C. Then enter the second temperature and humidity (21°C at 45%RH) and you’ll get 8.6°C. Since 1.7°C is less than 8.6°C, you need to add water vapor, or humidity, to go from a lower dewpoint to a higher dewpoint and vice versa.

So how do we relate this to the lab? Think about the air in which the environmental chamber is located. If the unit is in the lab, that air is typically kept at 21°C and about 35%RH. That would have a corresponding dewpoint of 5°C. Then calculate your dewpoint of your environmental chamber setpoints and compare. If the chamber dewpoint is higher, you need humidification. If it is lower, you’ll need dehumidification. If it’s within 15°C or so, you may need both.

Methods of Humidification

The three most common methods of introducing humidification into an environmental chamber are ultrasonic, sprayer, and steam. Each has benefits in certain applications.

Ultrasonic humidification is a more recent development in humidification technologies. Essentially, a disc or plate (piezoelectric transducer) is vibrated at a frequency that vaporizes water into micro-sized droplets. The process consumes about 50 watts an hour and generates a cool mist. Of the quantity of personal humidifiers sold, this technology makes up the majority – and for good reason. This type of humidifier isn’t choosy about water quality. Tap water, deionized, or even well water can be used. Since it generates a mist only when electricity is applied, moisture levels can be precisely added. The negatives of using this technology also mimic the positives. Since it can use any quality of water, it vaporizes the water with any contaminants. It also doesn’t heat the water reservoir so periodic cleaning and/or UV light might be required to inhibit microbial growth. Additionally, the piezoelectric transducer has a limited life and must be replaced at scheduled times. Finally, most transducers need cool down times and shouldn’t run at 100% duty cycles. In summary, ultrasonic humidification is optimal for environmental chambers needing precise humidity control at moderate temperatures. It will require maintenance to keep them running well, but make up for some of that cost with electrical efficiency.

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Sprayer systems take water under pressure and spray the water through a small orifice. This can add more water into a chamber faster than the other two widely used methods. A perfect application would be a plant growth chamber with a high humidity level and high turnover of air. In this type of chamber, exact humidity levels aren’t necessary and very hard to maintain. Steam generators sized appropriately would consume a lot of electricity. Ultrasonic generators would have to be replaced often. The downsides to this humidification method are that water quality affects long-term performance (mineral build-up may clog sprayer), and that it isn’t appropriate for precise humidification. No matter how high a quality sprayer head is used, a certain amount of water isn’t atomized and leads to water evaporating after the call for humidification. In the general sprayer area, there will often be microbial growth due to the constant supply of liquid water

Steam Generators operate in a way distinctly different than the other two. Typically, water is put in contact with a hot metal and steam is created. This humidification system is very well suited for high heat environments. The heat from the steam generator adds to the heat of the chamber. Usually, microbial growth is non-existent in the “boiler” section. Steam generators do have quite a few downsides and the marketplace is limiting their use in less than ideal situations. Our opinion is that any well insulated environmental chamber below 50°C probably isn’t an ideal situation for a steam boiler. At these lower temperatures, the boiler causes the temperature inside the environmental chamber to rise necessitating the need for refrigeration when it otherwise might not. The electrical efficiency of a boiler and a refrigeration unit running can often be 2900 watts vs. an ultrasonic system running at 360 watts (for a 30cft chamber running at 40°C). Another downside is that steam provides a warm moist air source that does two bad things at moderate temperatures. The first is that it adds a pulsing heat and humidity source to worsen uniformity data. Less intuitively, that warm moist air is collected on a cold evaporator causing microbial growth. Evaporators are typically aluminum finned copper pipes that aren’t really conducive to getting 100% clean. Therefore, cleaning these chambers is often extensive.

Finally, the steam unit does have a lifetime that is shortened by high mineral content water - more so than the other technologies. Replacing a steam unit is typically not user serviceable.

Summary

In summary, the type of humidification is often decided by the set-point of your chamber. Steam generators are relatively good for high heat applications. Sprayer-type units are good for humidifying large rooms with high air turnovers. Ultrasonic humidification is a decent choice when these situations don’t apply


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