Dew Point and Condensation
When dealing with imaging equipment at varying altitudes, changes in atmospheric conditions must be taken into account. Since the inner workings of imaging equipment are not hermetically sealed, they are subject to all the atmospheric changes that accompany the aircraft’s climb to its operational altitude. One of the most impactful changes to the camera’s operation is the dew point – the temperature at which water vapor in the air condensates.
As the aircraft climbs after takeoff, both the dew point and the temperature begin to fall. The rate at which they fall depends greatly on the day’s weather conditions. At some point the temperature will drop below the dew point and potential condensation inside the camera becomes a concern.
Condensation can cause electronics to short circuit and damage the camera. Furthermore, it can increase corrosion inside the camera causing additional faults and failures. Because most cameras are not hermetically sealed, condensation poses a real threat to the operation of a camera aboard an imaging payload at high altitude.
Protection with Conformal Coating
One solution to this challenge is to apply a polymer coating to the electronics that conforms to the printed circuit board. This protects the components and exposed metal from condensation if it occurs inside the body of the camera.
Conformal coating is not a means of complete waterproofing, but does add a layer of protection against water damage caused by condensation.
Lumenera offers the option to apply conformal coating to many of its industrial cameras while maintaining an industry-leading four year warranty. If you have any questions about cameras for aerial imaging applications, reach out to our imaging experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about other camera parameters that are pertinent to aerial imaging, read our white paper: The Most Important Camera Parameters for Aerial Imaging
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