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Environmental Chamber

The Environmental Chamber (sometimes simply called the E Chamber) is a flexible chamber for the FTA188 and the FTA200. Depending on the system, it is run from a separate stand alone controller, as shown in the photo below, or from the Fta32 software. In either case, the temperature is precisely controlled to a fraction of a degree C.

Environmental Chamber

The recommended maximum temperature is 300C, but higher temperatures can be obtained with a boost transformer for the heater. In general, high temperatures, say above 250C, require much longer to reach (perhaps 30 minutes) and this becomes as much of a limitation as anything. If you need to operate above 300C, you should consider a tube furnace. FTA has kits that work with Lindberg/Blue M tube furnaces, to name one recognized supplier of laboratory furnaces.

The sample stage is on a linear slide that can be moved from the outside. Up to five separate contact angle samples can be loaded and measured in one thermal cycle.

The above photo shows the chamber mounted on an FTA200. The Kevlar insulating jacket is fitted in the image. The jacket serves two purposes: it minimizes heat loss and it serves as protection against burns caused by accidental touching the hot chamber.

The chamber comes with a removable syringe shield, as shown in the photo below. The shield is the black cylinder rising up from the top of the chamber. Glass syringes fit snugly into the shield, with their needle penetrating the chamber top. The shield is essentially at the same temperature as the chamber, so the lower portion of the syringe is pre-warmed to the chamber temperature. The test liquid will always be at the chamber temperature because the stainless steel needle will have equilibrated to the chamber and will, in turn, warm the test liquid. The shield can be removed when it is desired to use an electrically heated syringe heater, available as an option. The option has its own RTD temperature sensor and controller, so it can be set at any temperature above the ambient.

Environmental Chamber

The chamber also has a loop in its walls for circulating bath liquid. This can be used as an alternative to electrical heating, or when it is desired to refrigerate the chamber below ambient. The bath is user furnished or a separate option.

Two gas ports are provided for purge gas, typically to reduce oxidation of heated samples. The chamber is not gas-tight, so it should only be used with safe gases like nitrogen and argon. However the leakage rate is low, so gas consumption is not normally a problem.

The chamber is not liquid tight, so it is not suitable for liquid-liquid interfacial tension work. FTA offers other chambers for these measurements. However, ordinary liquid-vapor measurements can be made in the chamber.

Order number 20-04.