ASTM D5276 Standard Test Method for Drop Test of Loaded Containers by Free Fall

ASTM D5276 outlines the procedure for testing loaded boxes, cylindrical containers, and bags/sacks by the free fall drop method. For containers that are less than 110lbs. this test will satisfy some ISO standards. This test is used to evaluate a container’s ability to withstand sudden shock from a free fall. It also serves as a means to evaluate the container’s ability to protect its contents during free fall. This test can be used to compare package containers. Different designs can be tested and compared for protective capability. It is also beneficial to perform this test to observe the failure of a container and the resulting damage to its contents.

ASTM D5276 is best suited for containers that are typically manually handled at some point throughout the distribution cycle. If a container is so large or heavy that it cannot be handled manually, then there may be a different test that is better suited for optimal test results.

There are specific requirements for the free-fall drop test equipment.

Basic Requirements state that the drop apparatus must:

  • Permit the container to be fixed to the apparatus in such a way that the position will result in correct orientation within 2 degrees upon impact
  • Permit accurate control of drop from specified height
  • Use lifting devices that will not damage the test specimen
  • Provide a release mechanism that does not put any vertical, rotational, or sideways forces on the test container
  • Provide a spring or other mechanism- only if leaves are used- that will not interfere with free fall

Impact Surface Requirements:

  • Horizontal and flat impact surface
  • Large enough that it is immovable and the specimen can fall entirely upon its surface
  • Rigid enough that it will not be deformed under test conditions
  • Concrete, stone, or steel
  • Impact surface must weight at least 50 times that of the heaviest container to be tested
  • Depth and width should not be less than half of the length

There are different requirements when utilizing a rupture hazard or testing certain fiber drums and very large containers.

The test specimen should be conditioned prior to beginning the ASTM D5276 test. The test specimen and number of samples should allow for an adequate representation of performance in the field. ASTM recommends that in the absence of a sampling plan, at least three samples should be tested. Whether testing for the ability of the container to withstand rough handling or the protective capability of the container to safely transport its contents, it is recommended that the container is packed with the actual contents that it will be transporting. It is also acceptable to pack the container with simulated contents when testing for handling. Regardless of the contents, the container must be closed or sealed in the same manner that it would be for shipping. This should be done well in advance of the test so that the container will reach its normal shipping conditions before testing.

To conduct the ASTM D5276 free-fall drop test, the containers must be marked according to their faces or positions. The test specimen will then be positioned on the drop apparatus according to the type of drop (flat edge, edge drop, etc.) that will be tested. To accurately measure the height of the drop for purposes of this test, measure from the bottom surface, edge, or corner, to the impact surface. The testing laboratory will record measurements and drop data and complete a report following the guidelines outlined in the ASTM D5276 standard.

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