Vacuum Chamber use in Solar Energy Research

Vacuum Chamber use in Solar Energy Research 01
Vacuum Chamber use in Solar Energy Research 01
This vacuum chamber was built to perform Solar energy research on Photovoltaic Cells. We had some constrains with regards to the outside dimensions of the chamber. As you can see, it could not be too tall because it had to fit into our clients assembly jig. We therefore removed our standard lid handles and machined the handles themselves right into the acrylic chamber lid. Concurrently, we also removed our 3-Port Plate that houses the vacuum valve, the venting valve, and the vacuum gauge and moved each of them to the side wall of vacuum chamber. Finally, a way to connect electrical signals and power to the interior of the vacuum chamber from the outside, while the Solar Cell is under vacuum, was to provide an electrical feedthrough. This electrical power feedthrough was placed on the opposite wall of the vent valve, vacuum valve, and vacuum gauge.

As you can tell, there is a square and large window made from Quartz Glass coupled to the lid. The reason Quartz was used is because acrylic has limiting optical transmission properties - it does not transmit light at all in the Ultra Violet spectrum. Most of the time, this is not critical; however, in some applications, such as photovoltaics and solar power research, the transmission properties of the vacuum chamber wall become vital. Keep in mind that Ultraviolet Transmitting Acrylic does exist, but in our situation, it was not cost effective, and it did not provide replacement options.

You can read more about Ultraviolet Transmitting Acrylic Here: Optical Transmission Properties of Acrylic

One of the advantages is also the option that our client has to remove the 6 inches by 6 inch Quartz Window and replace it with any other material with various optical transmission properties. All that needs to be done is loosen the bolts that are fastening the Window Holding Plate, made from 6061 Aluminum, remove it, remove the Glass, and replace this viewport with another Window made from a different material with different optical transmission properties such as Sapphire Glass, Borosilicate, Pyrex, etc.

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Force Decay Leak Testing Systems
Force Decay Leak Testing Systems are instruments that detect and quantify leaks in a test specimen through measuring the drop in force an inflated specimen applied onto a pressure transducer. The specimen is placed into a vacuum chamber, a vacuum is pulled, and the test sample inflates. As the test sample inflates, it applied a specific force onto the force transducer. This force is measured and recorded over time. If a leak exists, the specimen will deflate and lose pressure, as a result, the force it applies onto the force transducer will decrease. This in turn will enable for detection and quantification of a leak in the specimen.
Viewport Vacuum Feedthroughs
Viewports Vacuum Feedthroughs are windows that enable you to look into the inside of your vacuum chamber. If you are using a metallic vacuum chamber with a metallic lid, you will not be able to view the interior of your vacuum chamber unless you have a viewport. Viewports also enable a different electromagnetic spectrum of light to passthroughs.
Our Work: Submersion Leak Testing of Explosive or Volatile Products
Ever wondered how to leak test packaged volatile products? Do you know that there are countless unstable products out there that have to be leak tested as part of quality control? By volatile we mean products which ignite, explode, shatter, melt, or are hazardous. Keep in mind that hazardous material for whatever reason has be undergo quality control as well.
Related Articles: Anatomy of the Pressure Decay, Vacuum Decay, and Force Decay Curve
How do you know that you have a good part during your leak test? In order to understand your leak test, you must first understand the Test Decay Curve and what it tells you about your test specimen. There is a certain way that a test specimen behaves during the leak test.