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According to a recent statement, packaging in the United States accounts for the expenditure of over 21 billion dollars annually. This is more than 4 per cent of the gross national product, and more than the annual capital investment represented by new housing construction in the United States. Packaging is an important segment of our economic activity. Technically, packaging has been and continues to be an opulent orphan capable of causing temporary difficulties which have generally been overcome by empirical approaches. The evaluation of packages and systems of packages for compatibility with and the protection of the contained product has traditionally been performed using simulated service techniques. Available test methods involve the exposure of the packaged product to conditions of simulated transportation and accelerated storage and the subsequent determination of damage. Such damage may be evidenced by (1) breakage, disfiguration, or malfunction of the contained product, (2) the contamination of the product by some package component, or (3) failure of the package to prevent exposure to contaminating agents or by other predetermined criteria. There are simulation problems since product damage may be the result of a complex combination of shock, vibration, and atmospheric conditions, to mention only the most common damage-producing factors, acting over an indeterminate period of time in a random manner. By necessity, tests have been designed to simulate single damage-producing conditions. The effect of combinations of conditions is difficult to deduce from test results. The degree of acceleration in simulated storage tests is also an unknown and complex factor.
Goff, J. W.
ProfessorChairman of ASTM Committee D-10 on Packaging, Michigan State University,