The project designed and constructed an accelerated ageing rig to enable parts to be aged under humidity and temperature or humidity and UV conditions. The project was a team effort involving a team of electrical engineers working on it for their 5th year EE design project and a mechanical engineer Michael Bartle working on it for his Masters project. There was considerable technical support from Adrian Keating. The EE students were Rohan Mehra, Thomas Mckeon, Berney Bao, Nikola Petranovic, Xin Zheng Tan, and Abdul Aziz.
Accelerated aging (AA) is an important process in establishing the reliability of components. The AA process exposes components to elevated environmental conditions in purpose built chambers with controlled environments. This produces degradation effects in shorter time frames. While accelerated aging chambers are commercially available, the costs are generally high (in excess of $10 000).
The objective of this project was to design, and construct cost effective AA chambers to control specific environmental factors. These factors are humidity, temperature and ultraviolet radiation. The specific application for testing is rubber products/O-rings. The final design has two chambers. Chamber one is for heat (125°C) and humidity and Chamber 2 is for UV and humidity. The final cost is less than $2500 total. The main subsystems in the design are structural, heating, humidity, UV, power supply, microcontrollers, coding, and interfaces. Safety considerations were integral to the design and electrical, UV, temperature standards. The chamber was used by Levin Lian in for accelerated testing of nitrile rings in his 2016 MPE project.