Briefs: Largest climatic laboratory

The McKinley Climatic Laboratory, located in the US Air Force Eglin Base in Florida, USA, which began testing in 1947, is the largest climate testing facility in the world. The temperature inside the 77 x 61 x 21 m hangar, with a 4700 m² base footprint without obstructing roof supports and a cubic capacity of 100000 m3, can be regulated between 74°C and -54°C. The system holds 900 tons of refrigerant, as well as two 400-l capacity tanks of phase-change material. The floor consists in 2.3 m² concrete with silicone joint and vapour sealing. Walls and doors are insulated with 33 cm glass wool board and each door weighs over 180 tons. The original purpose of the Climatic Laboratory was to measure the performance of parts of aeroplanes working in hot or cold climates. Recently, it tested a whole Boeing jetliner at temperatures down to -42°C, just before its release on the market. Source: Climate Control News, November 2010