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

ASTM-D642 is the standard test method for determining compressive resistance of shipping containers, components, and unit loads. Compressive resistance is one of the properties used to evaluate the ability of shipping containers, components, and unit loads to successfully survive the compressive forces they are subjected to during storage and distribution.

Compressive resistance may be determined with either fixed- or swiveled-platen-type testing machines. However, a fixed-head compression machine is required to perform edge-to-edge and corner-to-corner orientations on test specimens. Also, unit loads are generally tested only in the top-to-bottom orientation.


  • 1.1 This test method covers compression tests on shipping containers (for example, boxes and drums) or components, or both. Shipping containers may be tested with or without contents. The procedure may be used for measuring the ability of the container to resist external compressive loads applied to its faces, to diagonally opposite edges, or to corners (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). This test method covers testing of multiple containers or unit loads, in addition to individual shipping containers, components, materials, or combination thereof.

  • 1.2 The test method of applying load may be used to compare the characteristics of a given design of container with a standard, or to compare the characteristics of containers differing in construction.

  • 1.3 This test method is related to TAPPI T804, which is similar for fixed platen machines but does not recognize swivel platen machines. This test method fulfills the requirements of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Test Method 12048. The ISO standards may not meet the requirements for this test method.