The sample chamber used in these tests was designed by Lacerta Technology (UK) (Figure Figure11a). The frame containing the sample is presented in Figure Figure11b. As seen in Figure Figure11a, the cell consists of a cylindrical chamber (1) of 20 mm in diameter and 56 mm in length in which a frame holding the sample (ca. 13 × 13 mm2) in place can be inserted (2). The sample is directly exposed to the chamber environment through the 10 × 10 mm2 window (Figure Figure11b(2′)). Samples were all oriented the same way (i.e., weft = horizontal, warp = vertical). The upper tube containing the sample as well as the frame were both made from grade 6082T2 aluminum so that the cell would be transparent to the neutrons. The frame was welded to the cylinder lid so that the chamber could be tightly closed for the accurate control of the RH in the chamber during the experiment. The RH sensor, which was connected to the RH controller, was placed on top of the sample and chamber [(3) in Figure Figure11a and Figure Figure11b]. The RH inlet came via tubing (flow 0.6 L/min) from the bottom of the chamber (Figure Figure11a(4) and Figure Figure11c). The RH sensor was calibrated using a Michell Optical Humidity & Temperature Calibrator based on the chilled mirror principle (, accessed 25/08/20). The signal from the RH sensor was used to control the RH controller directly to maintain a constant RH environment in the cell.

The temperature was controlled and maintained constant at 25 °C via water circulating inside the rectangular base of 75 × 75 × 24 mm3 (Figure Figure11a(5)), which was in direct contact with the sample cylinder, ensuring a uniform temperature throughout. The humidity cell was connected to a recirculating water bath via two 6 mm diameter pipes (water inlet and outlet) (Figure Figure11a(6)) to a recirculating water bath. The RH controller was tuned to the specific requirements of the cell built for this experiment to give optimal control, with minimal lag and overshoot. Moreover, the RH sensor was protected from the neutron beam using cadmium foil (Figure Figure11b(1′)) and boron carbide (Figure Figure11b(1″)) as neutron shielding. Figure Figure11d shows the complete setup as used during the neutron experiments.

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