Thermal shock occurs when separate parts of an object are exposed to opposing temperatures which cause them to expand differently. This strain could cause the object to crack and the object’s structure could fail if the crack wasn’t prevented from getting larger. The thermal shock test involves exposing an object to a range of rapidly changing temperatures to simulate the environment the object would be in under real conditions.

To perform a thermal shock test you can either use a machine with a single chamber or multiple chambers. If a machine with a single chamber is being used then the air temperature within the chamber would need to be rapidly cooled and heated. If a machine with multiple chambers is being used then one chamber would need to be hot and the other cool so the object could be moved between them both. The thermal shock test could also be carried out by moving the object between hot and cold water baths.

The thermal shock test can be used to identify weak points in products and materials so they can be redesigned and improved. For example, the thermal shock test would have to be conducted on aircraft parts as they are continually exposed to a huge range of temperatures. There are many other industries where environmental test chambers are used that might also conduct the thermal shock test on their products.

Examples of products and materials from around the home that would need to be tested for thermal shock include cookware such as pots and frying pans and kitchenware such as mugs, dishes, and plates. Other home items include candle holders and cosmetics and toiletry containers. Electronic parts in mobile phones, remote controls, and computers would also need to be tested for thermal shock.

When products and materials are being shipped from hot environments to very cold environments they must be able to withstand the change in temperature. If a product hadn’t been thoroughly tested for thermal shock then they could break in transit due to the extreme temperature changes. This could result in the manufacturers losing stock, money and future business.