ASTM E2696 - 09(2013)

    Standard Practice for Life and Reliability Testing Based on the Exponential Distribution

    Active Standard ASTM E2696 | Developed by Subcommittee: E11.30

    Book of Standards Volume: 14.02


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 This practice was prepared to meet a growing need for the use of standard sampling procedures and tables for life and reliability testing in government procurement, supply, and maintenance quality control (QC) operations as well as in research and development activities where applicable.

    4.2 A characteristic feature of most life tests is that the observations are ordered in time to failure. If, for example, 20 radio tubes are placed on life test, and ti denotes the time when the ith tube fails, the data occur in such a way that t1t2 ... tn. The same kind of ordered observations will occur whether the problem under consideration deals with the life of electric bulbs, the life of electronic components, the life of ball bearings, or the length of life of human beings after they are treated for a disease. The examples just given all involve ordering in time.

    4.3 In destructive testing involving such situations as the current needed to blow a fuse, the voltage needed to break down a condenser, or the force needed to rupture a physical material, the test can often be arranged in such a way that every item in the sample is subjected to precisely the same stimulus (current, voltage, or stress). If this is done, then clearly the weakest item will be observed to fail first, the second weakest next, and so forth. While the random variable considered mostly in this guide is time to failure, it should be emphasized, however, that the methodology provided herein can be adapted to the testing situations mentioned above when the random variable is current, voltage, stress, and so forth.

    4.4 Sections 6 and 7 describe general procedures and definitions of terms used in life test sampling. Sections 8, 9, and 10 describe specific procedures and applications of the life test sampling plans for determining conformance to established reliability requirements.

    4.5 Whenever the methodology or choice of procedures in the practice requires clarification, the user is advised to consult a qualified mathematical statistician, and reference should be made to appropriate technical reports and other publications in the field.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice presents standard sampling procedures and tables for life and reliability testing in procurement, supply, and maintenance quality control operations as well as in research and development activities.

    1.2 This practice describes general procedures and definitions of terms used in life test sampling and describes specific procedures and applications of the life test sampling plans for determining conformance to established reliability requirements.

    1.3 This practice is an adaptation of the Quality Control and Reliability Handbook H-108, “Sampling Procedures and Tables for Life and Reliability Testing (Based on Exponential Distribution),” U.S. Government Printing Office, April 29, 1960.

    1.4 A system of units is not specified in this practice.

    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.

    ASTM Standards

    E456 Terminology Relating to Quality and Statistics

    E2234 Practice for Sampling a Stream of Product by Attributes Indexed by AQL

    E2555 Practice for Factors and Procedures for Applying the MIL-STD-105 Plans in Life and Reliability Inspection


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 03.120.10 (Quality management and quality assurance); 21.020 (Characteristics and design of machines, apparatus, equipment)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/E2696-09R13

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