ASTM D642 Standard Test Method for Determining Compressive Resistance of Shipping Containers, Components and Unit Loads

The scope of ASTM D642 shipping test is compression resistance. The purpose of the test is to determine the ability of the container to resist external compressive loads. These compressive loads are applied to the containers faces, diagonally opposite edges or corners. The testing itself can be on the shipping container, components or both. During ASTM-D-642 package testing, the test unit may be tested with or without the contents.

The results of ASTM D642 testing can be used to determined one of two objectives. First, how well does the shipping container meet the requirements of the standard. Second, how well does one container perform when compared to the test results of another container.

The ability to withstand compression is an important attribute of packages. During transportation, it is common for packages and containers to be vertically stacked. The weight of the stacked units can degrade the ability of a container to effectively protect its content.

The ASTM D642 test lab is recommended to test five replicate tests. This helps ensure the accuracy of the data to improve the statistical reliability.

Depending on the contents, container and shipping method, conditioning can be used. The conditioning can occur before or during testing, or even both. Conditioning can include temperature, humidity, altitude or a combination of two of the three or all three.

The ASTM D642 test standard includes the following specific information about the test report and its required contents:

  • A statement indicating that the tests were performed in accordance with this test method, except where noted.
  • Container Structural and Physical Specifications:
    • Inside dimensions should be specified for all corrugated and solid fiberboard containers.
    • Description of the contents (products) of the container and gross weight of the filled container, as tested.
    • Description and specification of materials, style of container, access holes, and double scores.
    • Description and specifications for interior packaging, if used.
    • Spacing, size, and type of fasteners and method of closure.
    • Printing amount and location on container. Record caliper of printed and plain surfaces.
  • Detailed Results for Each Test Specimen:
    • Pre- and post-test damage to the container and contents.
    • Any observations that may assist in correctly interpreting the results or aid in improving the design of the container (for example, photographic evidence of container damage).
    • Nature and cause of failure.
    • Any tests performed on the test specimen prior to compression testing.
    • A tabulation of individual maximum load and deformation results.
    • Graph or table showing the load-deformation relationship for each test.
    • Number of specimens tested.
    • Mean and standard deviation calculations of all specimens tested.
  • Identification of Test Apparatus and Instrumentation Used, Including Manufacturer’s Names and Model Numbers.
    • Type of test machine used, such as fixed or swiveled platen. Include details of any known modifications.
    • Orientation in which the specimen was tested, such as platen speed and pre-load applied to the test specimen, if any.
    • Date of last calibration of apparatus and recording instrumentation.
    • Method, if any, of conditioning the container.
    • The moisture content of the wood, plywood, or fiberboard, if determined.
    • Description of test set-up used such as pallets, fixtures, or simulation devices.
    • The results of any supplementary tests of the materials from which the container is made.

Keystone Package Testing is a leader in testing to the ASTM D642 test standard. With significant experience, we not only provide testing, but we also assist with developing the test plan and identify potential solutions when packages do not meet the requirements. With four shakers and numerous temperature chambers, we offer short lead times on package testing scheduling. Contact us to see firsthand why so many companies partner with Keystone Package Testing to meet their transit testing needs.


Other ASTM Standards: