ASTM D642ASTM D642 is a testing standard designed to measure the compressive strength or resistance of shipping containers and parts. During distribution and warehousing, items are placed under various compressive loads while being stacked and moved. Packaging components such as boxes, crates, and cases are designed to protect products while they are transported and stored. Testing packing components for compressive strength is needed to help guarantee the protection of the products inside them. ASTM D642 can be used to test packaging diagonally (along opposite edges) or top to bottom. This is a general guide designed to help you understand the basic test procedure and equipment needed to test your products and materials to this standard. When you are ready to perform this test, please refer to and follow the exact specifications in the official ASTM D642 document.

Test Procedure

  1. Select a sample size and condition each specimen as indicated
  2. Carefully center the specimen on the bottom compression platen
  3. Slowly bring the top platen into contact with the specimen
  4. Apply the desired pre-load
  5. Make sure your system is set to specimen deformation
  6. Begin to apply load at the constant rate indicated in the specification
  7. Continue test until failure or specified load
  8. Repeat this procedure with each specimen


  1. Make sure to accurately measure specimen dimensions, weight, condition, contents, and any other relevant information before testing.
  2. A load-position curve for the entire test (ADMET testing controllers will automatically chart a load vs position curve in real time.
  3. Mean and standard deviations for all specimens

ASTM D642 graph

Load vs Postion curve for several specimens created in MTESTQuattro


  1. A compression testing machine capable of applying the needed load at the specified speed. ADMET offers a full line of table-top and floor-standing compression testing systems.
    compression testing machine
  2. A pair of compression platens larger than the specimens being tested. Browse our online grip catalog, custom platens can be designed.
    compression platens
  3. A testing controller capable of displaying and recording a load vs position curve. Both MTESTQuattro, an advanced PC-based controller, and the eP2, a stand-alone touch panel unit, offer this capability.
    ep2 testing machine controller  mtestquattro testing machine controller
    eP2 Digital Controller (top) MTESTQuattro PC-based controller (bottom)
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