Hypobaric and Hyperbaric Chambers
MOD Boscombe Down has on site both a Hypobaric Chamber and a Hyperbaric Chamber.
The Hypobaric chamber is used principally for conducting experimental work involving human subjects in addition to evaluating the performance of aircraft oxygen supply systems and associated equipments.
The three compartment hypobaric chamber is capable of achieving simulated altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet with an initial rate of climb of 40,000 feet per minute. The chamber dimensions are 5.7m x 3.7m x 2.4m high and it can accommodate up to eight people in its largest compartment. The facility includes a vacuum reservoir that can enable rapid decompressions of the chamber to take place. Rapid decompressions with a pressure change of 70 kPa in 0.1 second are attainable, which equates to a decompression from 8,000 ft to 65,000 ft.
Inside the chamber there is a supply of oxygen for breathing and compressed air for the inflation of protective garments. The chamber has an intercom system to allow verbal communication between the occupants and the operators outside. The chamber video system enables monitoring and recording of all experimental assessments performed in the chamber. Instrumentation ports pass through the chamber wall to allow instrumentation cables and other experimental or monitoring services to pass through the walls.
The Hyperbaric chamber is capable of achieving a pressure equivalent to 50 metres of seawater. The chamber dimensions are 3.5m x 2.4m x 2.0m high.
It produces increases in atmospheric pressure so that the performance of equipment and people at depth can be studied. It is also used for the emergency compression of subjects suffering from acute decompression illness. The chamber is supplied with breathing oxygen sufficient for up to three people and includes an intercom to allow verbal communication between the occupants and the operators outside. An instrumentation port passes through the wall to allow atmospheric monitoring.