Published in Journal of Applied Packaging Research, Volume 2, Issue 2, December 1, 2007, pages 89-102. Copyright © 2007 DEStech Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
ASTM D642 is a commonly used standard for measuring the ability of containers to resist external compressive loads applied to its faces, to diagonally opposite edges, or to corners. The procedure recommends testing by centering the specimen on the lower platen of the testing machine in the desired orientation, so as not to incur eccentric loading. It is also recommended by the standard that the load be applied with a continuous motion of the movable platen of the testing machine at a speed of 0.5 ±0,1 in. (12.7 ± .25 cm)/min until failure or a specified load, has been reached. It is recommended that the tests be conducted at "standard environmental" conditions of 23°C and 50% relative humidity. However, the vast majority of compression testers are not placed in rooms where humidity is controlled and multiple operators may perform the tests thereby increasing the possibility of variation of reported data. No recent studies involving the effect of variation in the container location or the test speed on the compression strength values, however, are available. This study tested over 400 C-flute RSC style boxes for 15 locations of the containers and ten platen speeds. Repeatability for select test conditions was also tested. The results reported in this paper show a significant reduction in the compression values by as much as 10.7% and an increase in defection by as much as 19.2% for the boxes with the variation in location. Changes in platen velocity and operators significantly affect compression and deflection testing.