What is a humidity incubator?

A humidity incubator is a laboratory equipment that, in addition to controlling the temperature of the indoor environment, also controls the humidity, through a refrigeration system, instead of direct heating. They allow the development of an infinity of experimental work, since with it microbiological and cell cultures can be maintained thanks to its ability to achieve the optimum temperature and humidity for this, as well as the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen.

Its main function in the laboratory is to store and condition the environment, in order to adequately develop microorganisms and cells, by controlling temperature, pressure, humidity and air circulation.

Moisture control protects crops against desiccation

Desiccation generates loss and damage to crops. It is important to maintain adequate humidity inside the chamber to avoid drying out of the crops. Large CO2 incubators can use steam generators or atomizers to control relative humidity levels, but most small to medium incubators use humidity trays to generate humidity through evaporation. The humidity trays produce relative humidity levels between 95-98%. Some incubators have moisture reservoirs with water on a hot tray, which increases evaporation. A moisture reservoir can increase relative humidity levels to 97-98%.

You must bear in mind when buying your equipment that a CO2 incubator has to guarantee, on the one hand, a humidity that is as high as possible to avoid evaporation of the medium. On the other hand, uncontrolled condensation should not occur inside. This requires a humidity limit in a passive humidity system on an open water surface, as is commonly found in CO2 incubators.

What is humidity?

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. There is always water vapor in the air and the amount varies depending on various environmental factors. This means that any place that has the presence of water with the possibility of heating up and evaporating is a source of humidity.

Types of humidity

Relative humidity. It is the capacity of the air to store water, which depends on the saturation point (limit of that air to contain water) and on a certain temperature. Its calculation is defined by the quotient between the amount of vapor present in the atmosphere, divided by the maximum amount it could contain, multiplied by one hundred (and the result is expressed as a percentage). A relative humidity of 100% indicates that it has reached its saturation limit point and, from there, any excess water vapor condenses (becomes liquid).

Absolute humidity. It is the mass of water vapor that is present in a certain volume of air, before it is condensed (relative humidity). It is important to note that temperature conditions absolute humidity: hot air masses have a greater capacity to store water vapor than cold air masses. Absolute humidity is expressed in grams per cubic meter.

The difference between relative humidity and absolute humidity is that the first corresponds to a percentage measure (how much percent of the water that the air can contain is stored there), and the second corresponds to a measure of the amount of water in weight that air contains (calculated in grams or kilograms).

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