All sophisticated medical and scientific instruments require protection against the problem of humidity and temperature control for their satisfactory & correct performance. Items like infra red spectrometers, scanning & transmission, electronic microscopes and other costly scientific instruments etc. entail a very heavy capital expense. To protect them, laboratory incharge cannot afford to overlook the recommendations of the manufacturers/suppliers of such equipments in terms of humidity and temperature control for guaranteed performance of these costly equipment.
Condensation problems in laboratories and Instrumentation rooms
A sudden rise in temperature of air in the instrumentation room, typically on account of a power cut/breakdown at the time of start up and even on shut down of air conditioning equipment result in condensation of water vapour on the cooler surface of the instruments. Built up condensation on microcircuitry of sensitive equipments leads to problems like
reduced life cycle, inaccurate reading, corrosion & micro-corrosion etc. The end result is increased costs of maintenance and replacement.
Based on the general recommendations of the various manufacturers of International repute, for a wide range of analytical instruments, it is determined that by and large, most of the recommendations for temperature and humidity control fall in the following range:
|Temperature Dry Bulb
||70°F to 80°F
||75°F ± 5°F
||24°C + 2.5°C
|or not exceeding
||27°C to 80°C
||40% to 50%
||45% ± 5%
|or not exceeding
To provide this with individually designed, specially engineered and custom built central air-conditioning systems, works out to be a fairly expensive proposition in terms of first cost as well as operating cost, maintenance cost and staff cost, on top of the already very heavy capital expenses incurred on the analytical equipment. Minimizing the expenditure on environmental control in analytical instrument rooms, is today possible by using standard room airconditioners and dehumidifiers. It provides temperature, humidity & dust control respectively, but within ranges as tabulated above.
Uncontrolled Humidity in laboratories results in
- Corrosion and micro-corrosion of mission critical equipments.
- Reduced life cycle time of the expensive equipment.
- Frequent replacement and increased maintenance costs.
- Recurrent breakdowns.
- Frequent recalibration.
- Inaccurate readings defeating the purpose of the experiment.