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PSYCHROMETERS FOR TEST CHAMBERS:


CALIBRATION

UDC 621.38

Key words: Calibration, psychrometers, test chambers

IEC 68-2-30 (1980) Test Db: Damp heat, cyclic

1.

SCOPE

The method can be used for calibration of measuring


psychrometers against a work standard or a work standard
against a reference standard. If no work standard is used,
the measuring psychrometers are all calibrated against a
reference standard.

2.

FIELD OF APPLICATION

The method of calibration is intended for psychrometers


used for measurement and/or control of the relative
humidity of air in damp heat test chambers. The
psychrometers used in test chambers are normally
aspiration electro psychrometers used for high humidity
measurements. The construction and handling of these
psychrometers are described in ISO 4677/1 (see
references).

IEC 68-2-56 (1988) Test Cb: Damp heat, steady state,


primarily for equipment
4.

DEFINITIONS

4.1

Calibration

The set of operations which establish, under specified


conditions, the relationship between values indicated by a
measuring instrument or measuring system, or values
represented by a material measure, and the corresponding
known values of a measurand.
Notes 1. The result of a calibration permits the estimation of
errors of indication of the measuring instrument,
measuring system or material measure, or the
assignment of values to marks on arbitrary scales.
2. A calibration may also determine other
metrological properties.

The ambient air temperature range for calibration is


20 - 85C and the relative humidity range is 50 - 98% RH.
That is dewpoint temperatures in the range from 13C to
85C.

3. The result of a calibration may be recorded in a


document, sometimes called a calibration
certificate or a calibration report.

The method of calibration may be used for other types of


psychrometers or hygrometers intended for use within the
range of temperature and relative humidity given.

3.

4. The results of a calibration is sometimes


expressed as a calibration factor, or a series of
calibration factors in the form of a calibration
curve.

REFERENCES

ISO 4677/1 (1985) Atmospheres for conditioning and


testing
Determination of relative humidity
Part 1: Aspirated psychrometers
method

4.2

Error of measurement

The result of a measurement minus the (conventional) true


value of the measurand.

SS 02 01 22 (1981) Testing conditions


Determination of relative humidity of
testing atmospheres (in Swedish
only)

4.3

IEC 68-1 (1988)

4.4 Reference standard

Environmental testing
Part 1: General and guidance

IEC 68-2-3 (1969) Test Ca: Damp heat, steady state

Published by NORDTEST
ISSN 0283-717X

An estimate characterizing the range of values within which


the true value of a measurand lies.

A standard, generally of the highest metrological quality,


available at a given location, form which measurements
made at that location are derived.

Tekniikantie 12, FIN-02150 ESBO, FINLAND


Proj. 854-89/715-87

Uncertainty of measurement

Phone +358 9 455 4600 Fax +358 9 455 4272


www.nordtest.org

NORDTEST METHOD

4.5 Working standard


A standard which, usually calibrated against a reference
standard, is used routinely to calibrate or check material
measures or measuring instruments.

4.6 Working space


Part of the calibration chamber in which the specified
conditions can be maintained within the specified
tolerances.

4.7 Working range


Part of the calibration chamber in which the specified
working range can be maintained within the specified
tolerances.

4.8

Traceability

The property of a result of a measurement whereby it can


be related to appropriate standards, generally international
or national standards, through an unbroken chain of
comparisons.

4.9 Measuring instrument


A device intended to make a measurement, alone or in
conjunction with other equipment.
5.

SAMPLING

Not applicable.

6.

METHOD OF CALIBRATION

6.1

Principle

The calibration of instruments involves checking the


instrument against a known standard in order to reduce
errors in accuracy. Calibration procedures involve a
comparison with a primary standard or a secondary
standard with a higher accuracy than the instrument to be
calibrated. A psychrometer might be calibrated by
comparing it with a standard humidity measurement facility
at e.g. NBS or NPL, or by comparing it with another
psychrometer or dew point hygrometer, traceable to e.g.
NBS or NPL.

6.2 Apparatus
6.2.1 Reference standard
A psychrometer or dewpoint hygrometer traceable to
national or international standards.

6.2.2 Calibration chamber


The calibration chamber shall preferably be constructed as
a free air condition construction (according to IEC 68-2).
Furthermore, the chamber air volume shall be big enough
to absorb water evaporation from the wet thermometer and
heat dissipation from possible fans without affecting the air
temperature and humidity condition of the chamber.

NT ELEC 020

As a guide the chamber volume shall be min 4.8 m3 with no


air exchange, and min 0.216 m3 with an air exchange of 95
% of the chamber volume per minute for an uncertainty of
0.1 % RH. The chamber shall preferably be equipped with
feed through handling gloves.
The short term stability of the condition in the chamber shall
be maintained by means of a regulation process slow
enough to ensure that the time delay caused by the thermal
response time of the slowest instrument does not give
errors. This is especially important if the instruments have
different thermal response times.

6.2.3 Measuring instruments


If a psychrometer is a part of a measuring system, the
complete system can be calibrated by reading the system
indicator.

6.3

Preparation

6.3.1 Preparation of the reference standard


The reference standard is made ready in accordance with
the actual reference standard manual. This may cover
activities such as boiling the wick for the wet bulb
thermometer in demineralized water, replacing the wick,
polishing or replacing the thermometer thermal shield,
checking of air velocity at thermometers, fan speed or the
like as described in ISO 4677/1 for aspiration
psychrometers.
With the wet bulb and the dry thermometer both dry, the
temperature readings of both thermometers are recorded
for all calibration temperatures. A possible temperature
difference between the two thermometers (both dry) is
corrected in the actual calibration points.

6.3.2 Preparation
calibration

of the psychrometer

under

Before any measurements are performed the air velocity


above the dry and wet thermometers shall be measured. It
shall be ensured that the air velocity is constant with a
stability better than +/- 0.1 m/s. Further it must be ensured
that the air velocity is above 2.5 m/s. See also subclause
7.1.

6.3.3 Laboratory environmental conditions


Consider if the air pressure shall be measured or if an
approximation is enough. Ref. sect. 6.6, Error and
uncertainty of measurement.
6.4 Calibration procedure

6.4.1 Measuring set-up


Place the psychrometer under calibration together with the
reference or work standard within the working space of the
calibration chamber. Make sure that the temperatures and
relative humidity conditions wanted as calibration points are
within the working range of the chamber.

NORDTEST METHOD

NT ELEC 020

The psychrometer under calibration and the reference


standard are placed close together but in such a way that
they do not interfere with each other. If the reference
standard or the psychrometer under calibration have hot or
cold surface areas which can be seen from the other
instrument, a radiation shield shall be applied between the
two instruments. The radiation shield shall have a
homogeneous surface temperature distribution and shall
have the temperature of the test chamber.

6.4.2 Measuring sequence


Before measurements are performed, temperature and
humidity stability must be reached at the calibration points.
Reading 1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

As a guideline the requirement for short term stability is


satisfied if the ambient air temperature (reading 1 and 5)
does not vary more than 0,1C and the relative humidity
(reading 2 and 4) does not vary more than 0.5% RH.

6.5

Expression of results

In the calibration report for each sequence the mean value


of reading 1 and 5 (see subclause 6.4.2) is stated as the
ambient air temperature and the mean value of reading 2
and 4 as the reference standard value for the relative
humidity.
Preferable calibration conditions of temperature and
humidity according to the IEC damp heat testing conditions
stated in the IEC 68-2-xx publications listed in section 3 is
shown below:
Temperature Humidity Conditions according to IEC 68-1
and 68-2-xx

6.6

- The temperature at which the calibration is performed


- The relative humidity at which the calibration is performed
- The air pressure at which the calibration is performed
- The uncertainty of temperature measurement
In the following table the contribution from the various
terms is given:
Nominal values

25C
25C
25C
30C
30C
40C
40C

50%
75%
98%
85%
93%
85%
93%

55C
85C

93%
85%

Standard for reference tests


Standard recovery
Specified in IEC 68-2-30
Specified in IEC 68-2-56
Specified in IEC 68-2-56
Specified in IEC 68-2-56
Specified in IEC 68-2-56 and
68-2-3 and 68-2-30
Specified in IEC 68-2-30
Widely used for component
testing, not a standard

Error and uncertainty of measurement

Calibration of psychrometers involves measuring error and


measuring uncertainty depending on the following
conditions:

Influence on reading

Temperature Relative
(C) humidity
(%)

Ambient air temperature of the chamber


working space
Reference standard humidity %
Measured instrument humidity %
Reference standard humidity %
Ambient air temperature of the chamber
working space.

The measurement sequence shall be performed 3 times


with an interval of approx. 5 min.

25
25
25
40
55

50
75
98
93
93

Air
pressure
86kPa 106kPa
(%RH)

+0.2K -0.2K
(%RH)

+2.3
+1.0
+0.12
+0.2
+0.1

-1.4
-1.4
-2.0
-1.5
+1.1

-0.7
-0.3
-0.0
-0.0
-0.0

td - tw

+0.9
+1.4
+2.0
+0.9
+0.9

The uncertainty contribution from the term td-tw is used


when the relative humidity is determined by calculations
based on readings directly on the dry thermometer and the
wet thermometer of a psychrometer reference standard,
each temperature measurement having an uncertainty of
0.1K.
The measuring errors is highest at low values of relative
humidity, and is due to the basic physical construction of
the aspiration psychrometer. The error is primarily due to
heating of the wet thermometer from the water reservoir
and may be determined experimentally for the actual
psychrometer.

6.7 Calibration report


The calibration
information:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)
h)
i)
j)
k)
l)
m)
n)
o)
p)

report

shall

include

the

following

Name and address of the calibration laboratory


Identification number of the calibration report
Name and address of the organization or the person
who ordered the calibration
Name and address of the manufacturer of supplier of
the psychrometer under calibration
Name or other identification marks of the
psychrometer under calibration
Description of the psychrometer under calibration
Date of supply of the psychrometer under calibration
Date of the calibration
Calibration method
Identification of the calibration equipment and
instruments used
Date of expiration of calibration period of the reference
standard and measuring instruments used
Traceability of measurements
Any deviation from the calibration method
Calibration results (use SI units)
Inaccuracy or uncertainty of the test results
Date and signature