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  • 1 USDA/ARS, Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, 2021 South Peach Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727

Humidity is an important component of the enviornment that influences the growth, development and storage life of most horticultural crops. A method to control relative humidity (RH) in experimental chambers using solutions of glycerol-water has been developed. A constant RH can be established and maintained by bubbling air through a glycerol-water solution of known water content. The air rapidly reaches equilibrium with the glycerol-water solution producing the desired RH. The relationship of the specific gravity (SG) of glycerol-water solutions and the corresponding equilibrium RH was determined. Any desired RH can be produced by using solutions of the appropriate SG ranging from 100% with pure water (SG 25/25 = 1.000) to 0% with pure glycerol (SG 25/25 = 1.261) This system can be used in flow through systems by bubbling the incoming air through the solution or in closed systems by circulating air through the solution and the chamber. Multiple jars of solution can be used for more precise RH control. The effects that temperature and atmospheric pressure in the jars have on the equilibrium RH will be discussed.

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