In Hornsund where the Polish Polar Station is located the wind can blow up to 180 km/h, and it can carry grit and salt. There is also the high variability of air temperature (from -35⁰C to 15⁰C), precipitation, and air humidity throughout the year. All types of battery have reduced performance in the cold conditions. The metal wires in cables are rather unaffected by the cold, but the plastic covering may become rigid and shatter in the cold. Cables can be also bitten by arctic foxes, raindeers, and polar bears. Flexible materials become progressively harder and more brittle at lower temperatures. Equipment that is fine in the office or lab becomes stiff or shatters in the cold. The cold also causes equipment seals to fail and allows the ingress of moisture and grit.
During the lesson, students can learn what equipment is used in the Arctic and how arctic scientists prepare their equipment: how to test and verify equipment, batteries, electrical cables, construction materials, enclosure sealing, displays etc.
Presenter: Tomasz Wawrzyniak