Chapter 6

Achieving Environmental-Test Realism

“The wisest man has something yet to learn”.

George Santayana

6.1 Overview

The emphasis placed upon environmental stress factors in equipment Design Requirement Specifications tends often, but not always, to be focused upon those summarised under the general headings shown in Figure 6.1.

Figure 6.1 Broad Classification of Environmental Stress Factors

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What is not always fully understood is the development of environmental design criteria that are consistent with actual whole-life environmental exposure conditions. The importance of correctly identifying these conditions at the commencement of the design process is addressed in some detail in Chapter 7.

This chapter looks at the nature of realistic single and combined environments in more detail. Experienced test engineers and technicians can add considerable value to the formulation of a meaningful and cost-effective environmental test programme. Such personnel are generally well qualified to comment on the inappropriate procedures that often appear in generic ‘Test Standards’ and ‘Test Specifications’, and their comments should be accorded due respect before a test programme definition is finalised. It is equally important that flexibility in the choice of environmental-test procedures is encouraged in accordance with the specific requirements of individual product designs and operationalenvironments. ...

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