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Subzero Science and Engineering Research Core Facility


"A unique and state-of-the-art suite of laboratories used to study the effects of the cold on projects across many scientific disciplines."

Facility contains multiple experiment rooms capable of maintaining subzero temperatures. Additional features include the capacity to simulate various other environmental conditions, e.g. solar radiation, humidity, etc.





  • Cold clean room ( Environmental chamber )

    A cold environment class 1000 clean room, with a built in laminar flow partition that will provide for a class 100 environment in this area. This room will provide space for the decontamination and processing of pristine ice core samples and for conducting microbial related experiments. Temperature: -20 to 10 ◦C, with variation no greater than ± 2 ◦C from set point, a spatial uniformity of ±2 ◦C, Size: ~3 m x 3.7 m (10’ x 12’)

  • Cold hydrodynamics chamber - wet lab ( Environmental chamber )

    To study subzero environments in which the liquid phase of water maintains an influential role. This encompasses for example the study of wetlands, streams and lakes in the Montana winter and Antarctic summer or during transitional seasons, and highway icing problems. A temperature controlled water reservoir external to the laboratory will supply flow through the chamber. Inflow and outflow couplers will allow scenario-specific configurations to be placed in the laboratory. For example configurations might include a flume, a piping system or a simulated wetland. Flow rates of up to 380 L/min (100 gal/min) can be provided. A programmable solar simulation source is located in the ceiling. Temperature: -25 to 10 ◦C, with variation no greater than ± 2 ◦C from set point, a spatial uniformity of ±2 ◦C, Simulated Solar: 0 to 1200 W/m2, Size: ~3.7 m x 4.3 m (12’ x 14’)
    *An existing chamber also with a solar simulator and cold sky has a temperature range of -60 to 50 ◦C. Size: ~2.5 m x 2 m (8’ x 7’)

  • Cold specimen storage ( Environmental chamber )

    This unit has a fully redundant refrigeration system. Typical storage temperature -30 ◦C, Size: ~3 m x 4.3 m (10’ x 14’).

  • Cold structural testing room ( Environmental chamber )

    An integral “strong floor” with tie downs to test structural materials and elements at low temperatures, explore new materials, test durability of existing materials and explore the manufacture of innovative structural materials to be used in cold environments. Allows large scale structural elements to be tested and examined. This chamber will also facilitate tests on frozen soils related to frost-heave and weakening of soils resulting from extreme temperature variations. Asphalt and concrete pavement sections and geosynthetics will be tested under a variety of environmental conditions. This chamber will also be used to study the physical, chemical and biological properties as increased pressure transforms snow (firn) to ice in temperate and polar glaciers. This laboratory has double doors facing the Structural Engineering Laboratory, to provide access for large pieces. This configuration facilitates, for example, utilizing a forklift or overhead crane for delivering large members to the chamber. Temperature: -40 to 10 ◦C, with variation no greater than ± 2 ◦C from set point, a spatial uniformity of ±2 ◦C, Size: ~3.7 m x 6 m (12’ x 20’).

  • Environmental test chamber ( Environmental chamber )

    A precise environmental chamber that will be used to support research from diverse disciplines. Metamorphism of snow and ice structure in a controlled environment will facilitate our understanding of avalanche formation, snowmelt hydrology, limnology and atmospheric/terrestrial energy balance in a cold environment. This room features a solar simulation source, a temperature controlled ceiling, to simulate a “cold sky” and humidity control. Temperature: -40 to 10 ◦C, maximum variation of ± 1 ◦C from set point, a spatial uniformity of ±2 ◦C, Ceiling -10 to -50 ◦C, Simulated Solar: 0 to 1200 W/m2, Size: ~3 m x 4.3 m (10’ x 14’)

  • Experiment preparation room ( Environmental chamber )

    A general specimen preparation room with saws, light table, microscope, etc. This chamber also serves as a teaching laboratory with ample room for student groups to work. Incorporated in the design is a large viewing window for students to observe demonstrations without entering the chamber. Temperature: -30 to 10 ◦C, with variation no greater than ± 2 ◦C from set point, a spatial uniformity of ±2 ◦C, size: ~4.3 m x 4.9 m (14’ x 16’)

  • Linkam Cryostage ( Cryostage )

    Subzero temperature for heat labile samples undergoing microscopic analysis. Add on for Nikon Eclipse 80i.

  • Nikon Eclipse 80i Microscope ( Fluorescence microscope )

    Add ons: Retiga 2000R Digital Camera; Linkam PE94 Cryostage.

  • Retiga 2000R Digital Camera ( Digital camera )

    Add on for Nikon Eclipse 80i.


  • Environmental chambers access service ( Access service )

    This facility contains multiple room-sized environmental chambers capable of subzero temperatures providing a unique environment for various experimental applications.

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Last updated: 2011-04-27T15:25:53.459-05:00

Copyright © 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
The eagle-i Consortium is supported by NIH Grant #5U24RR029825-02 / Copyright 2016