ASTM D6537 Standard Practice for Instrumented Package Shock Testing for Determination of Package Performance

The purpose of ASTM D6537 is to measure the shock responses when an actual or simulated package is subjected to shock. This test will measure package performance by using acceleration measurement techniques. The results of this test will provide the user with helpful information about package performance. They can determine the package’s ability to withstand shocks and impact hazards that it may encounter throughout distribution.

In order to fully understand ASTM D6537 procedure, there is some specific terminology defined by the following:

  • Accelerometer- sensor that is able to convert acceleration into a measurable proportional electric signal
  • Coefficient of restitution- rebound velocity to impact velocity ratio
  • Complex waveform- also known as a complex shock pulse; acceleration vs. time graph that represents the response of multiple systems when subjected to an impact
  • Faired acceleration- amplitude that represents the primary response system
  • Fairing- smoothing a recorded pulse by estimating amplitude of primary waveform
  • Peak acceleration- maximum absolute value of acceleration (occurring during shock pulse)
  • Primary waveform- acceleration vs. time graph that represents the response of a system when subject to an impact
  • Pulse duration- amount of time that the shock acceleration is beyond reference level
  • Velocity change- sum of velocity at impact and rebound velocity

The apparatus required for ASTM D6537 is the shock or impact apparatus, instrumentation system, accelerometer, and cabling. All the apparatuses must meet the requirements outlined in the standard. The number of samples required for testing depends on the purpose of the tests. There are two options:

Option 1- actual contents and package

This test method serves to evaluate the protective capability of the package that is intended for shipment. Prototypes can provide a different outcome so in the event that a prototype must be uses, it has to be as close as possible to the actual manufactured package and product.

Option 2- simulated contents and package

This test option is available for products that are cost prohibitive, limited availability, or hazardous in nature. A simulated product may be used but it must have the same characteristics as the actual product.

It is important to maintain structural integrity prior to testing. The package should not be damaged when it arrives at the testing laboratory.

Before testing, the accuracy of the test equipment should be verified through calibration. The package should also be conditioned, if applicable, prior to testing. To begin testing, the accelerometer should be mounted on the package in a spot that represents the package as a whole. The accelerometer should be mounted in such a way that it is not loose or does not lose contact with the package. The recommended mounting method is a threaded fastening. However, other methods such as adhesives, cements, magnetic mounts, and waxes can also be used. The package should be closed and sealed in the same manner that it is for shipping. Then, the shock test should be performed. At the conclusion of testing, the laboratory will write a report that outlines the results of the test. The report will follow the guidelines of ASTM D6537.

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