master violin and viola case maker
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While a few case makers actually claim to perform some kind of testing to see how their cases perform in real-life conditions, few if any actually publish the results. Mr. Musafia makes an exception to this, and provides the following information.
More information and graphs will be added soon.
1 - WINTER CONDITIONS: Indoor > outdoor > indoor
This test re-creates a typical winter scenario. From the comfort of one's home (71°F), two violins in their cases (Musafia Luxury Classic mod. 3011, one Tropicalized, the other not) are taken outside and placed in the trunk of an automobile parked outside (35°F), where they remain for the time necessary to arrive at the concert hall. The cases are then removed and taken into the hall (62-64°F). Test date January 26, 2005. Wireless temperture and humidity probes used.
Analysis: The Musafia case with Tropicalization shows a gentler thermocline and reaches inferior extremes compared to the standard model. With an ambient minimum temperature of 35°F, the Musafia case with Tropicalization reaches the lowest temperature 10 minutes later and 5 degrees higher. Thermal stress subjected to the violin is thus significantly reduced.
2 - SUMMER CONDITIONS: Air-tight ...or not air-tight? The "pressure cooker effect".
In this test, two identical Musafia cases are placed in the hot summer sun. One is kept tightly closed, while the other has the lid resting on the closed latch, resulting in an aperture of about 5mm along the handle side of the case, allowing liberal airflow. This test simulates real life conditions when the closed case is carried outdoors in direct sunlight, and can be considered substantially valid also if the case is left in a car parked in the sun. The slightly open case is tested for reference values. Test conditions: ambient air temperature 92° F (33°C) for the entire duration of the test. Test date July 27, 2005. Wireless temperture and humidity probes used.
Analysis: Some case makers advocate an air-tight seal to optimize instrument safety. However, viewing the graph above, it becomes apparent that inside the tightly-closed case the relative humidity increases dramatically in as little as 20 minutes of exposure to strong, direct sunlight and remains higher than ambient levels. If the same type of case is left slightly open it showed the opposite effect, with the relative humidity dropping swiftly to dangerously dry conditions. The "pressure cooker effect" of the tightly-closed case is due to the fact that, when heated, the air inside tries to expand but cannot escape, remaining trapped inside. As a result, the air goes under pressure and this in turn increases the dew point, thus the relative humidity. As a result, the violin is subjected to considerable thermal and hygrometric stress. Mr. Musafia resolved this issue with the PressurePorts option, calibrated release ports built into the case that help maintain constant relative humidity inside the case while subjected to temperature increase.
(to be continued)
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