The United States Military Standard referred to as MIL-STD-810, "Department of Defense Test Method Standard for Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests" emphasizes tailoring an equipment's environmental design and test limits to the conditions that it will experience throughout its service life, and establishing chamber test methods that replicate the effects of environments on the equipment rather than imitating the environments themselves. The MIL-STD-810 test series are approved for use by all departments and agencies of the United States Department of Defense (DoD). Although prepared specifically for DoD applications, the standard may be tailored for commercial applications as well.


Scope of the standard

The military standard MIL-STD-810 test series addresses a broad range of environmental conditions that include: low pressure for altitude testing; exposure to high and low temperatures plus temperature shock (both operating and in storage); rain (including wind blown and freezing rain); humidity, fungus, salt fog for rust testing; sand and dust exposure; explosive atmosphere; leakage; acceleration; shock and transport shock (i.e., triangle/sine/square wave shocks); gunfire vibration; and random vibration. The environmental management and engineering processes described within MIL-STD-810 can be of enormous value to generate confidence in the environmental worthiness and overall durability of a system design. Still, there are limitations inherent in laboratory testing that make it imperative to use proper engineering judgment to extrapolate laboratory results to results that may be obtained under actual service conditions. In many cases, real-world environmental stresses (singularly or in combination) cannot be duplicated in test laboratories. Therefore, users should not assume that a system or component that passes laboratory testing also would pass field/fleet verification trials.

Lead standardization agency

The military standard MIL-STD-810 series of test methods are issued by the United States Army's Developmental Test Command who is chartered under the Defense Standardization Program (DSP) with maintaining the functional expertise and serving as the DoD-wide technical focal point for the standard. The current document revision (2009) is Revision G (i.e. MIL-STD-810G) which was issued on October 31, 2008. It superseded Revision F (MIL-STD 810F) released on January 1, 2000 and which was last updated on May 5, 2003.

History and rationale

The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) published The History and Rationale of MIL-STD-810 which captures the thought process behind the evolution of MIL-STD-810. It also provides a development history of test methods, rationale for many procedural changes, tailoring guidance for many test procedures, and insight into the future direction of the standard. In 1965, the United States Air Force (USAF) released a technical report entitled "AFFDL-TR-65-197 - The Evolution of USAF Environmental Testing" that presents supporting information on the origination and development of natural and induced environmental test for USAF aerospace and ground equipment. The MIL-STD-810 test series originally addressed generic laboratory environmental testing, but with Revision D, started to focus more on shock and vibration tests that closely mirrored real-world operating environments. Revision F further defined test methods while continuing the concept of creating test chambers that simulate conditions likely to be encountered during a product's useful life rather than simply replicating the actual environments. More recently, Revision G implements Test Method 527 that calls for the use of multiple vibration exciters to perform simultaneous multi-axis shaking to simultaneously excite all test article resonances and simulate real-world vibrations. This approach replaces the present three tests: shaking a load first in its x axis, then its y axis, and finally in its z axis.

Test methods and examples

The MIL-STD-810 test series contains environmental laboratory test methods that are applied using specific test tailoring guidelines described within the standard. Note that test methods are not to be called out in a "blanket" fashion nor applied as unalterable routines, but are to be selected and tailored to generate the most relevant test data possible, and incorporated into a system's final design specification, as specified by the Procuring Agency. The selected test methods are designed to simulate specific environmental conditions anticipated to be encountered over the life of the system.

Specific examples of Test Methods (where the older MIL-STD-810F is used as an example) are listed below:

  • MIL-STD 810F Method 500.4 Low Pressure (aka Altitude testing)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 501.4 High Temperature (Both storage and operating)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 502.4 Low Temperature (Both storage and operating)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 503.4 Temperature Shock (How well does the device handle going from high to low temps, and back)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 504 Contamination by Fluids
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 505.4 Solar Radiation (Sunshine)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 506.4 Rain (How does the device do in wind blown rain)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 507.4 Humidity (Can the device handle high Humidity)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 508.5 Fungus (device is exposed to warm moist air in the presence of Fungus to see if it grows on the device)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 509.4 Salt Fog (does the device rust/fail when exposed to salt fog)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 510.4 Sand and Dust (how well does the device work when exposed to sand and dust)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 511.4 Explosive Atmosphere (is the device Intrinsically safe or not)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 512.4 Leakage
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 513.5 Acceleration (constant acceleration)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 514.5 Vibration (constant acceleration)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 515.5 Acoustic Noise (constant acceleration)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5 Shock (either Shock Response Spectrums, or triangle / sine / square wave shocks) — also transport shock
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 518 Acidic Atmosphere
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 519.5 Gunfire Vibration
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 520.2 Temp, Humidity, Vibration (Traditionally sine wave (pre D), later random vibration — combined with Temp testing)
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 521.2 Icing, Freezing Rain
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 522 Ballistic Shock
  • MIL-STD 810F Method 523.2 Vibro-Acoustic/Temperature

Testing Vendors:

  • Curtis-Straus LLC a wholly owned subsidiary of Bureau Veritas CPS[1]
  • MET Laboratories, Inc.[2]
  • US Tech[3]
  • Electronics Test Centre[4]

Applicability to consumer products

Claiming "compliance to MIL-STD-810" can be misleading; as it is a flexible standard with no authority to certify or oversee it that allows commercial suppliers to make up their own test methods to fit their product. Suppliers can and some do take significant latitude with how they test their products, as well as how they report the test results. As a result, claims of "compliance with MIL-STD-810" can be misleading. When queried many manufacturers admit no testing has actually been done and that the product is merely designed/engineered/built-to comply with the standard. This is because many of the tests described are very expensive to perform and require special facilities. Further if some testing was actually done they would have to specify:

  • (i) against which methods of the standard the compliance is claimed
  • (ii) to which parameter limits were actually tested; and
  • (iii) whether the testing was done internally or externally by an independent testing facility.

Related documents

  • The document MIL-S-901D (Navy), Shock Tests H.I. (High Impact) Shipboard Machinery, Equipment, and Systems, Requirements (often mistakenly referred to as MIL-STD-901) is a military specification for shock that applies to equipment mounted on U.S. Navy ships. The current specification, MIL-S-901D was released March 17, 1989.
  • The document DO-160, Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment outlines a set of minimal standard environmental test conditions (categories) and corresponding test procedures for airborne equipment. It is published by RTCA, Incorporated. The current standard, DO-160G, was released December 8, 2010.
  • The Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom) provides requirements for environmental conditions experienced by defence material in service via the Ministry of Defense Defence Standard 00-35, Environmental Handbook for Defence Materiel (Part 3) Environmental Test Methods. The current standard, DEF STAN 00-35 Part 3 Issue 4, was released September 18, 2006.
  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) provides guidance to project managers, programme engineers, and environmental engineering specialists in the planning and implementation of environmental tasks via the Allied Environmental Conditions and Test Publication (AECTP) 100, Environmental Guidelines for Defence Materiel. The current document, AECTP-100 (Edition 3), was released January 2006.

See also

References and external links

Reference list

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