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Military cargo plane on dusty runway

MIL-STD-810 Sand and Dust Testing

Sand and dust environments include a wide range of materials and particulate size distributions. As a result, this method includes two procedures: the dust procedures and the sand procedures. Dust ingress testing evaluates the effectiveness of filters and of material at resisting the effects of dust. Sand ingress testing evaluates the ability of material to withstand blowing sand conditions without degrading in performance or maintainability.

Use this Method to evaluate mechanical, optical, electrical, electronic, electrochemical, and electromechanical devices exposed to sand or dust atmospheres. However, it is not suitable for determining the effects of a buildup of electrostatic charge. Additionally, because of control problems, this Method does not address sand or dust testing outdoors. It also does not address settling dust.

A tailored test approach is needed for weapon system components flying through abrasive particles, such as sand, dust and volcanic ash. This approach is based on the system configuration, trajectories, and system specific statistically based weather occurrence. Abrasive particles may vary depending on the global region and must be defined prior to ground test and evaluation. Traceability is determined between realistic flight through weather and ground test methods, to ensure adequate performance characterization.

Keystone Compliance is a sand and dust testing lab with significant understanding of  MIL-810 sand and dust testing. Our test engineers are experts in MIL-STD 810H sand and dust testing and MIL-STD 810G sand and dust testing. Below is outlined the requirements of sand and dust ingress protection testing. The following information is extremely technical in nature, and derived from MIL-810H sand and dust and MIL-810G sand and dust.

What are the Effects of Sand and Dust Environments on Materials?

Blowing sand and dust environments are usually associated with hot-dry regions, but exist seasonally in most other regions. Naturally-occurring sand and dust storms are important, but the induced environment created by the operational environment can be more severe. The best testing occurs in dust and sand test labs. This following is a list of some typical problems that occur in such environments.

  • Abrasion and erosion of surfaces.
  • Penetration of particles through seals.
  • Degraded performance of electrical circuits.
  • Obstruction or clogging of openings and filters.
  • Physical interference with mating parts.
  • Fouling or interference of moving parts.
  • Reduction of heat transfer.
  • Interference with optical characteristics.
  • Overheating and fire hazard due to restricted ventilation or cooling.
  • Wear (increased fretting due to imbedding between mating surfaces).
  • Increased chafing between non-mating contacting surfaces.
  • Weight gain, causing issues with static/dynamic balance.
  • Attenuation of signal transmission.

What Should be Considered When selecting the Best Testing Procedure for Your Product?

When selecting procedures, consider:

  • The operational purpose of the material. From the requirements documents, determine the functions to be performed by the material and any limiting conditions.
  • The natural exposure circumstances.
  • The test data required to determine if the operational purpose of the material has been met.
  • The sequence of the procedure. If both sand and dust procedures are to be applied, it is generally more appropriate to conduct the less damaging first. Typically this requires blowing dust and then blowing sand.

What are the Differences in Procedure for Solid Particle Enclosure Tests?

Procedure I, blowing dust, evaluates the susceptibility of material to concentrations of blowing dust. Procedure II, blowing sand, evaluates the susceptibility of material to the effects of blowing sand. While both procedures involve sand and/or dust, they differ on the basis of particle size and type of movement. For each procedure the test temperature, sand and/or dust composition, test duration, and air velocity must be specified.

How Ought Test Levels and Conditions Be Determined?

All testing should be done in a sand and dust laboratory, after selecting  this Method and relevant procedures. Parameters, conditions, and techniques for testing are based on requirements documents, Life Cycle Environmental Profile, and information provided with this Method. From these sources, determine the functions of the material in, or following storage in sand and dust environments. Then determine the sand and dust levels of the geographical areas and micro-environments the material is to be employed in.

How Should Test Results Be Analyzed?

After blowing dust enclosure ingress testing, analyze any failure of a test item to meet the requirements of the material specifications. Consider related information such as determining if:

  • Dust has penetrated the test item and caused binding, clogging, seizure or blocking of moving parts, non-operation contacts or relays. Or if  electrically conductive bridges with resulting short circuits have formed.
  • Air filters are clogged restricting airflow.
  • Abrasion of the test item exceeds the specified levels.
  • The test item operates as required.

After blowing sands enclosure ingress testing, analyze any failure of a test item to meet the requirements of the material specifications. Consider related information such as, determining if:

  • Abrasion of the test item exceeds the specified requirements.
  • The test item operates as required.
  • Protective coatings or seals were compromised.

Where is the Ingress Protection Lab to Get a Sand and Dust Certification for My Product?

Keystone Compliance has been recognized as one of the best sand and dust labs in the country. We employ experienced test engineers to provide the best sand and dust testing possible. Our enclosure testing lab is equipped to provide sand and dust compliance testing for commercial, military, and aerospace products. Contact us to learn why so many manufacturers rely on Keystone Compliance to meet their compliance testing needs.

There have been several versions of sand and dust testing procedures in MIL-STD-810 sand and dust testing. Below is a list of each version and the appropriate method number: