Standard Active Last Updated: May 10, 2022 Track Document
ASTM D5487-16(2022)

Standard Test Method for Simulated Drop of Loaded Containers by Shock Machines

Standard Test Method for Simulated Drop of Loaded Containers by Shock Machines D5487-16R22 ASTM|D5487-16R22|en-US Standard Test Method for Simulated Drop of Loaded Containers by Shock Machines Standard new BOS Vol. 15.10 Committee D10
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Significance and Use

4.1 Shipping containers and the interior packaging materials are used to protect their contents from the hazards encountered in handling, transportation, and storage. Shock is one of the more troublesome of these hazards. Free-fall drop testing, while easy to perform, often understresses the test specimen by subjecting it to drops which are not perpendicular to the dropping surface.

Note 1: For example, testing has shown that non-perpendicular drops, 2° off perpendicularity, result in 8 % lower acceleration into the test specimen resulting from the impact energy dispersing in several axes.4

4.1.1 Controlled shock input by shock machines provides a convenient method for evaluating the ability of shipping containers, interior packaging materials, and contents to withstand shocks. Simulated free-fall drop testing of package systems, which have critical elements, has produced good results where the frequency of the shock pulse is at least three times that of the package system's natural frequency.

4.2 As in most mechanical shock test procedures, fixturing of the package on the shock test machine may have significant influence on the test results. Typically, packages will be firmly held on the table by securing some type of cross member(s) across the top of the package. Care should be taken that any pressure resulting from such fixturing should be minimal, particularly when the container being tested is corrugated or some other similar material.

4.2.1 In cases where low-acceleration, long-duration responses are anticipated, any fixturing can potentially influence packaged item response and can possibly alter any correlation between this test method and free-fall drop testing. Where such correlation is desired, the package can be tested without it being fixed directly to the table. Note that in such circumstances, the shipping container can vigorously rebound from the table and can, if not otherwise controlled, present a safety problem for operators. Fixing the shipping container to the shock machine table is most often recommended for safety and convenience, but accuracy and precision of this test method should not be compromised by such fixturing.

Note 2: A rigid package system with a natural frequency above 83 Hz requires a shock pulse shorter than the 2-ms (nominal) duration currently available with many of today's shock machines:

Equation D5487-16R22_1

Equation D5487-16R22_2

Equation D5487-16R22_3

Equation D5487-16R22_4


ds   =   shock pulse duration, s,
fs   =   shock pulse frequency, Hz, and
fp   =   package system frequency, which may be determined by Test Methods D999.
Similarly, a shock machine using an input shock pulse duration of 3 ms would only be effective with package system frequencies below 56 Hz.


1.1 This test method covers the general procedures of using shock machines to replicate the effects of vertical drops of loaded shipping containers, cylindrical containers, and bags and sacks.

1.2 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.

1.3 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.4 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 15.10
Developed by Subcommittee: D10.21
Pages: 4
DOI: 10.1520/D5487-16R22
ICS Code: 55.180.10