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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 26 No. 3, p. 866-871
    Received: July 1, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): k.ryan@irl.cri.nz
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A Small-Scale Outdoor Plant Growth Chamber with Modulated Enhancement of Solar UV-B Radiation

  1. K.G. Ryan * and
  2. W. Ireland
  1. The New Zealand Institute for Industrial Research and Development, P.O. Box 31-310, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.



An outdoor, solar illuminated growth chamber with modulated UV-B enhancement, is described and its performance characterized. The chamber was clad with Teflon film that transmitted both UV-A and UV-B with little absorption and whose transmission did not change significantly over 1 yr. An array of UV-B emitting fluorescent tubes with cellulose diacetate filters provided additional UV-B radiation inside the chamber with little additional UV-A, while a similar chamber with unenergized tubes provided an ambient control. Ambient and enhanced UV-B levels were measured using a pair of integrating broad band radiometers, and it was found that frequency modulation allowed control of lamp intensity over a range in excess of 100:1. Within the UV-B chamber, enhanced levels of integrated UV-B could be maintained at a constant ratio over ambient throughout the day. However, it was not sufficient simply to maintain a constant ratio of radiometer output voltages: the angular responses of the two radiometers had to be well matched. The shape of the UV-B portion of the enhanced spectrum closely followed that expected under ozone depleted skies, while the enhancement of UV-A was insignificant. The spectral profile obtained in the UV-B depended on the thickness of the cellulose diacetate filters used to block short wavelength UV radiation emitted by the fluorescent tubes. The number (thickness) of cellulose diacetate filters required to achieve this match varied with season. Although the filters did degrade with exposure to UV-B it was not necessary to replace them for several months. This was due to: (i) low rate of filter degradation because the lamps were rarely required to be run at full brilliance except at midsummer midday; and (ii) increased tube intensity compensated for reduced filter transmission.

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