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Antarctica-homeUK: Proving the importance of the conditioning of air in the harshest climates, the British Antarctic Survey has recently fitted two Condair MK5 steam humidifiers into the sleeping modules of one of its new research stations.

The extreme Antarctic environment is very dry and so humidification is needed to provide a healthy environment for the scientific team stationed at the new Halley VI research station, located on the Brunt Ice Shelf.

The Condair steam humidifiers, from the UK manufacturer of the same name, are helping to suppress electrostatic shocks and maintaining the health of the BAS personnel by reducing drying of the skin, eyes and the mucosa of the nose and mouth and reducing the risk of airborne infection.

According to the British Antarctic Survey, any Antarctic accommodation structure requires careful environmental and humidification management. The Halley VI station ventilation systems are designed to blend fresh air, as low as -54°C, and recirculated air, which is then humidified and dispersed to inhabited areas.”

The Condair MK5 units, which use snow meltwater as their water source, were specifically selected for their proven operation in the Antarctic.  Condair water level sensors are said to work well with this type of water. 

The architecturally and technically remarkable Halley VI station consists of a series of interconnecting research and living areas, each module being mounted on height adjustable stilts which terminate in skis. This construction avoids the risk of being buried and crushed under the weight of accumulating snow and, uniquely, means it can be towed and relocated, to avoid being lost as the ever-moving ice shelf breaks up into the Weddell Sea.

For over 60 years, the British Antarctic Survey has been the UK’s primary environmental and scientific research organisation in Antarctica.  The Halley facility is dedicated to the study of the Earth’s atmosphere and measurements from Halley led to the discovery of the ozone hole in 1985.