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Dehumidification & dehumidifiers for military equipment and storage

Maintaining constant readiness of all military equipment is not practical for any country. A certain percentage of equipment is usually "mothballed" and not immediately battle-ready. This applies to the Army, Navy, and Air Force, each with its own unique challenges. For instance, preserving dry ammunition differs significantly from keeping a warship free of moisture, requiring distinct approaches.

Although the fundamental goal remains the same, which is to prevent damage by maintaining the appropriate humidity, the focus used to be mainly on averting high humidity and corrosion. However, insufficient humidity or excessively dry conditions can also lead to damage and failures in certain materials and electronic components. Excessive humidity levels, whether absolute or relative, during storage can encourage insect pest activity and mold growth on uniforms.

While preventing metal corrosion, such as rusting of steel components, remains crucial, modern military hardware encompasses more than simple metal items. The use of different metals, composite materials, sealants, surface coatings, various types of munitions, and advanced electronic warfare systems necessitates a much more precise level of humidity control to prevent damage during storage. Microscopic damage to circuitry caused by corrosion or electrostatic discharge poses a particular risk to equipment like computers, telecommunications systems, and lithium batteries.

It is often assumed that heating can regulate relative humidity. However, while temperature can influence relative humidity, it does not reduce absolute humidity. Relying solely on heating is both ineffective and expensive. By selecting an appropriate humidity control system, energy savings of up to 60% compared to heating alone can be achieved.

Benefits of humidification control for the military equipment industry include: 

  • Equipment can be safeguarded from moisture-related damage, especially when stored in humid environments or during maritime operations.

  • Optimize performance, increase reliability, and improve the longevity of equipment while enhancing personnel comfort and safety.

  • Reduces the need for frequent repairs or replacements.

  • Longevity of equipment reduces the need for frequent procurement, resulting in long-term cost savings.

Military Equipment Manufacturing & Storage FAQ'S

  • This will depend on the type of materials and equipment being stored. Expert advice should be sought on specific levels for any particular store.

    Each store should be treated as stand-alone systems as each store can require slightly different control set points. This results in a larger number of smaller packaged systems. Large central HVAC systems can of course be used if the whole building is looking after all one type of object.

  • There are two main types of industrial dehumidifier - condensing and desiccant.

    Condensing (refrigerant-based) dehumidifiers work well at higher temperature typically above 20°C. At lower temperatures the drying capacity is greatly reduced and below about 10°C they don’t work. They also will not generally provide humidity levels below 40-45%. They also require drainage for the condensate, so either a main drain or daily emptying of on-board tanks.

    Desiccant dehumidifier systems offer a very flexible solution wih a wider range of eropating conditions. They can dehumidify in temperatures typically from -30 to +40°C, together with ambient humidity from 0-100%RH, so are ideal for unheated defense storage facilities. Operationally they can take humidity levels below 10%RH if required with a control accuracy of +/-2%RH. They do not require water drainage connection but will need air ducting to exhaust the hot, wet air from the drying process.

  • Electric steam humidifiers are frequently used in military storage facilities. There are two main types. Electrode boiler steam humidifiers, introducing steam directly to a room or an air duct, have a low capital cost, but can have high spares requirement and energy running costs. They offer a modulating output between 20 and 100% resulting in control accuracy of typically +/-7.5%.

    A resistive steam humidifier can also deliver steam either directly to a room or via a ducted system. This type of humidifier has a higher capital cost but lower spares requirement. It has a fully modulating output, from 0-100%, resulting in a very close control accuracy of typically +/-2%RH.

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