VACUUM CHAMBERS

A vacuum chamber is an enclosed space within a rigid structure that uses a vacuum pump to remove all air and gases and creates a low pressure vacuum state. This can be helpful in the production of products that need to avoid contamination or moisture. Vacuum chambers are also useful in some types of food production.

VACUUM CHAMBER USES

Vacuum chambers have various uses in very different fields. They can be used to test objects that are built for outer space. A thermal vacuum chamber can be used to actually simulate the outer space environment the outside of a spacecraft would experience.

Another common use for vacuum chambers is degassing. When two components are mixed, sometimes gas is created as a byproduct. A vacuum environment can pull these gases away, keeping the end product pure. An example of this method being used is in the mixing of resin and silicone rubbers.

A NASA vacuum chamber.

They can also be used for vacuum drying. Sometimes during the production process, liquids can collect on a product. Vacuum chambers can be used to pull the moisture off, keeping the product dry. Combined with heat, this is a very effective method of drying.

Vacuum chambers are also used often in the process of freeze drying food. Food is flash frozen (frozen quickly), then placed in a vacuum chamber where the moisture sublimates (goes directly from solid to gas) and is removed. The end result is the food being completely devoid of any water.

VACUUM CHAMBERS MATERIALS

Vacuum chambers need to be made of a rigid material, to resist the pressure differences created by the vacuum. They also need to avoid other pitfalls, such as corrosion, absorption of moisture or trace gases, and magnetic interference.

Most vacuum chambers are made of aluminum, as it can avoid most of these problems. It’s strong enough to withstand low to medium vacuum environments. It’s non-magnetic, which means it won’t interfere with attempts to control the magnetic field inside the chamber from the outside. It’s also good because it absorbs very little moisture and trace gases.

Some other common materials for low to medium vacuum chambers are:

  • Brass
  • High-density ceramic
  • Glass acrylic

Low to medium vacuum chambers can generally use rubber o-rings to seal their ports effectively.

For high and ultra-high vacuum chambers (having pressures lower than 10-13 atmosphere) stainless steel is often used. It can handle more extreme pressures that other materials can’t, and can be welded, making the seals stronger. It also has the properties of low magnetic interference and resistance to erosion and the absorption of moisture/gases.

High and ultra high pressure vacuum chambers generally need steel bolts to seal their ports because of the increased pressure.

To learn how to build your own, go here.

Good luck and stay prepared!

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Comments

  1. judine parker says:

    what are the prices of a vaccum chamber?

  2. It seems like a lot of the commercial models are pretty expensive, in the $500-$5000 range. I’m sure there are cheaper ones on the market for a few hundred though, depends what you’re looking for.

    It’s not too complicated to build your own, though: http://preparedforthat.com/diy-how-to-build-your-own-vacuum-chamber/

  3. It’s hard to tell it’s complete just from the pic. Is there a vacuum pump built within the system? That’s the key thing.

  4. How do you convert 133×10-3 to inches of vacuum Vacuum

    • This site; http://www.onlineconversion.com has a section for pressure conversions. For example it can convert 34 inches of mercury to 16 lbs. per square inch of pressure. I just haven’t figured out how to relate that to the “below 133×10-3″ specification given for the vacum pump mentioned. I am assuming the 10-3 is 10 to the third power and possibly the 133 is microns, not sure. Anyway, this is a great site, you can convert almost anything.

  5. Hmm, I really don’t know the answer to that one.

  6. Where do you get a vacuum pump to use in your home built vacuum chamber

  7. I would shop around, both on the internet and hardware-type stores.

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