Standard Test Methods for Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are exposed to complex dynamic stresses when subjected to vibration present in all transportation vehicles. Approximating the actual damage, or lack of damage, experienced in shipping may require subjecting the container(s) and contents to vibration inputs. ASTM-D999 is the standard test method for vibration testing of shipping containers.

Resonant responses during shipment can be severe and may lead to package or product failure. Identification of critical frequencies, and the nature of package stresses can aid in minimizing the effect of these occurrences.

Exposure to vibration can affect the shipping container, its interior packaging, means of closure, and contents. These tests allow analysis of the interaction of these components. Design modification to one or more of these components may be utilized to achieve optimum performance in the shipping environment.

Methods A1 (Vertical Motion) and A2 (Rotating Motion), Repetitive Shock Tests, are suitable for tests of individual containers that are transported unrestrained on the bed of a vehicle and may be suitable for tests of containers that might be subjected to repetitive shocks due to magnification of vibrations in unit loads or stacks.

Note 1 —Methods A1 (Vertical Motion) and A2 (Rotatig Motion) produce different vibration motions, and therefore, will generate different forces which may result in different damage modes and intensities. Results from these two methods may not correlate with one another.

Method B - Single Container Resonance Test, tests or determines the ability of an individual container and its interior packaging to protect the contents from transportation vibration, particularly when the container and its contents might exhibit resonant responses.

Note 2 —Individual products that are palletized might be better tested using Method C.

Method C - Palletized Load, Unitized Load or Vertical Stack Resonance Test, covers the determination of the presence and the effects of resonance in palletized loads and multiple-unit stacked loads, and whether or not the strength of the containers is sufficient to withstand dynamic loads when stacked.

Any or all of these test methods may be employed, as determined by the appropriate performance specification, with test intensities, frequency ranges, and test durations as called for in the specification. Although these tests do not simulate the shipping environment, they are intended to create the damage-producing potential of the shipping environment. Results of any one of these methods may differ from the results of the others.


1.1 These test methods cover vibration tests of filled shipping containers. Such tests may be used to assess the performance of a container, with its interior packing and means of closure, both in terms of its strength and of the protection it provides its contents when it is subjected to vibration such as it experiences in transportation. These procedures are suitable for testing containers of any form, material, kind, design of interior packing, means of closure, and any size and weight. They are not intended for determining the response of products to vibration for product design purposes, nor are they intended for tests of products in their operational configuration as other more suitable procedures are available for these purposes.

1.2 The following methods appear:

  • Method A1 —Repetitive Shock Test (Vertical Motion).
  • Method A2 —Repetitive Shock Test (Rotary Motion).
  • Method B —Single Container Resonance Test.
  • Method C —Palletized Load, Unitized Load, or Vertical Stack Resonance Test.

1.3 For testing of intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) containing liquid hazardous materials.

1.4 These test methods fulfill the requirements of International Organization for Standardization standards ISO 8318 and ISO 2247. The ISO standards may not meet the requirements for these methods.

1.5 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.