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    ASTM D642 - 15

    Standard Test Method for Determining Compressive Resistance of Shipping Containers, Components, and Unit Loads

    Active Standard ASTM D642 | Developed by Subcommittee: D10.21

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.10


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 Compressive resistance is one of the properties used to evaluate the ability of shipping containers, components, and unit loads to successfully survive the compressive forces they are subjected to during storage and distribution (see Note 1).

    Note 1: For constant load test refer to Test Method D4577.

    4.2 Compressive resistance may be determined with either fixed- or swiveled-platen-type testing machines. However, a fixed-head compression machine is required to perform edge-to-edge and corner-to-corner orientations on test specimens (see Note 2). Also, unit loads are generally tested only in the top-to-bottom orientation.

    Note 2: Fixed-platen machines generally cause corrugated box specimens to fail at their strongest point, while swivel-platen machines cause corrugated box specimens to fail at their weakest point.5 The swiveled platen is allowed to move to the weakest point of the container.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers compression tests on shipping containers (for example, boxes and drums) or components, or both. Shipping containers may be tested with or without contents. The procedure may be used for measuring the ability of the container to resist external compressive loads applied to its faces, to diagonally opposite edges, or to corners (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). This test method covers testing of multiple containers or unit loads, in addition to individual shipping containers, components, materials, or combination thereof.

    1.2 The test method of applying load may be used to compare the characteristics of a given design of container with a standard, or to compare the characteristics of containers differing in construction.

    1.3 This test method is related to TAPPI T804, which is similar for fixed platen machines but does not recognize swivel platen machines. This test method fulfills the requirements of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Test Method 12048. The ISO standards may not meet the requirements for this test method.

    1.4 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

    1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    TAPPI Standard

    T 804 Compression testing of fiberboard shipping containers

    T 412 Moisture in pulp, paper and paperboard

    ISO Standard

    ISO 12048 Packaging--Complete, filled transport packages--Compression and stacking test using compression tester

    ASTM Standards

    D685 Practice for Conditioning Paper and Paper Products for Testing

    D996 Terminology of Packaging and Distribution Environments

    D4169 Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems

    D4332 Practice for Conditioning Containers, Packages, or Packaging Components for Testing

    D4442 Test Methods for Direct Moisture Content Measurement of Wood and Wood-Base Materials

    D4577 Test Method for Compression Resistance of a Container Under Constant Load

    E4 Practices for Force Verification of Testing Machines

    E122 Practice for Calculating Sample Size to Estimate, With Specified Precision, the Average for a Characteristic of a Lot or Process


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 55.180.40 (Complete, filled transport packages)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D0642-15

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D642-15, Standard Test Method for Determining Compressive Resistance of Shipping Containers, Components, and Unit Loads, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, www.astm.org

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