ASTM D4332: Environmental Conditioning Testing
ASTM D4332 is performed to simulate the environments that products and their packaging will encounter during its distribution environment.
ASTM D4332: Conditioning Containers, Packages, or Packaging Components for Testing
Environmental conditioning tests per ASTM D4332 are designed to evaluate standard and special conditioning environments that can be used to simulate the field conditions that a package or container may be exposed to during shipment or storage. Additionally, the standard is used to pre-condition packages to predefined conditions before distribution testing is performed.
Purpose of ASTM D4332
As packages travel to labs, hospitals, customers, or other destinations, they’re exposed to a variety of environmental conditions such as temperature or humidity changes that may adversely affect the package systems. The purpose of ASTM D4332 is to simulate the environments that products and their packaging will encounter during its distribution environment. For example, a product that is manufactured in the Midwest and shipped to the West Coast will encounter a variety of climates on its journey—humidity and heat in Midwestern states, freezing temperatures in the Rocky Mountains, and dry desert conditions in Southwestern states. All of these environmental extremes must be accounted for to assess how the packaging will withstand the typical conditions it may be exposed to during shipment.
The selected conditions for ASTM D4332 testing may be based on a historic standard or a known distribution environment. By simulating these environmental conditions, we can more accurately represent how the product and package will withstand the shipping process as well as how future performance may be affected. With environmental conditioning test results, manufacturers can accurately represent conditions that their products and packages should be able to withstand.
The following are examples of typical testing conditions that may be utilized during an ASTM D4332 test:
|Environmental Condition||Temperature (°C, °F)||Relative Humidity (%RH)|
|Extreme cold||-30 ± 2 (-22 ± 4)||Uncontrolled|
|Frozen||-18 ± 2 (0 ± 4)||Uncontrolled|
|Refrigerated||5 ± 2 (41 ± 4)||85 ± 5|
|Temperate, high humidity||20 ± 2 (68 ± 4)||90 ± 5|
|Tropical||40 ± 2 (104 ± 4)||90 ± 5|
|Desert||60 ± 2 (140 ± 4)||15 ± 5|
Westpak is proud to offer environmental conditioning by using a wide variety of environmental test chamber types and sizes. The ASTM D4332 testing we perform is accredited to comply with ISO/IEC 17025 by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). Our state-of-the-art labs are certified by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) to perform tests that ensure package safety, durability, and performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get answers to our most frequently asked questions.
How many shippers can be tested?
Westpak has over 100 environmental and accelerated aging chambers with a variety of capacities. Our smallest chambers are a few cubic feet and the largest can fit several fully-stacked pallets simultaneously.
How many packages should I test?
This question is entirely dependent upon your protocols, risk factors and the purpose of testing. A medical device will have R&R (repeatability and reproducibility) factors involved where an R&D unit will likely test one or a few samples. Westpak’s SMEs can support this question on a case by case basis.
What types of packaging can be tested with ASTM D4332?
ASTM D4332 testing can be applied to products, primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging, as well as shipping containers. Further, all types of materials should be subjected to the temperature and humidity inputs.
What are the considerations with using the ASTM-D4332 standard?
There are several considerations that may have an impact on an environmental conditioning test that should be considered. If the package systems are dense, it will affect the ability of the environmental chamber to change conditions. This is due to an increase in thermal mass. This is easily accommodated through communication and chamber capacity planning.
The duration of each condition is also open to interpretation. The typical environmental conditioning test simulates a frozen, tropical, desert and ambient condition. Duration at each condition ranges from 24 to 72 hours.
What equipment is required to perform the ASTM D4332 test?
Because variations in temperature and humidity can greatly alter products and packaging materials, ASTM D4332 tests require a high level of precision. To obtain the most accurate results, Westpak uses a suite of equipment and instrumentation to conduct environmental conditioning tests, each calibrated to accredited standards and maintained under preventative maintenance controls.
Westpak ensures the highest quality test data within our industry using a robust quality management system (QMS), trained professional staff, state-of-the-art test facilities, and accredited testing.
Testing at Westpak has been accredited by A2LA to comply with ISO 17025.
Westpak testing labs are ISTA certified to perform a variety of tests.