ASTM D4332 vs F2825

Environmental conditioning per the ASTM D4169 has typically been performed per ASTM D4332, however, the latest revision of the test standard, ASTM D4169-23e1 (editorial revision 1) includes a new option: ASTM F2825.

This new test standard option is applicable only to parcels, whereas ASTM D4332 is a generalized standard that can apply to any sized product from small parcels up to large crates or pallet loads. If your product can be classified as a parcel, which is defined by each common carrier such as UPS, FedEx, USPS and others, then using this newly added standard may shorten the test duration significantly and also provide a more realistic test than if using a generalized standard such as ASTM D4332. Below is a comparison between the two standards:

ASTM D4332:

For testing containers, packages, or packaging components so that they approach or reach equilibrium with the atmosphere to which they may be exposed. This standard is commonly used for conditioning when conducting transit simulation tests. This standard is slightly more customizable than ASTM F2825.

When using this standard, typically at least two conditions from the below table will be selected. For each condition selected, the test duration is typically 72 hours, which is enough time for most products to reach equilibrium with the environment. The most common test conditions are extreme cold, tropical, and desert, though any conditions shown can be selected depending on the situation. The logic with performing a cold, humid, and dry test is to account for various environmental extremes that could be encountered with shipping at different times of the year, and at different locations.  

Depending on the exact transportation methods used, it may make sense to use other environmental conditions. For example, we’ve had customers who have their product picked up and delivered using refrigerated trucks, and in those cases they would include steps within the environmental conditioning sequence using the “refrigerated storage” condition, rather than more extreme environments.

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Some of our customers will customize this test to also include an ambient step in between the extreme cold, tropical, and desert tests in order to simulate a more realistic scenario where the product may be moved from indoors to extreme outdoor environments several times during the shipping process, however, this process is standard within the ASTM F2825 option.

A test sequence with added ambient steps could look something like this:

  1. Laboratory Ambient Condition with uncontrolled RH for 12 hours
  2. Extreme Cold, -29°C with uncontrolled RH for 72 hours
  3. Laboratory Ambient Condition with uncontrolled RH for 12 hours
  4. Tropical, 40°C and 90% RH for 72 hours
  5. Laboratory Ambient Condition with uncontrolled RH for 12 hours
  6. Desert, 60°C and 15% RH for 72 hours

ASTM F2825

For testing the ability of a packaging system to withstand a range of climatic stresses that a packaging system may be exposed to during distribution throughout the world and still provide the product protection from damage or alteration. The standard is designed as conditioning prior to testing for overnight or two-day delivery systems of a single parcel packaging system, or as a standalone test for climatic stressing of packaging systems.

This standard includes a sequence of conditions, but does not allow the conditions to be customized (see below table). Additionally, there are required steps in between each extreme condition where the product is kept at a controlled 23C / 50% RH for a duration that is specified by the user. There could be as little as no time at this controlled ambient condition, or up to any user defined duration. As mentioned previously, the intent with this is to simulate a more realistic scenario where the product is kept inside in between each of the extreme conditions, but that can be left out altogether for a worst case scenario. This standard also does not focus on the product reaching equilibrium, as the exposure time is only ~4 hours, as opposed to 72 hours with ASTM D4332.

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