MIL-STD-810 Test Method 500, Low Pressure

MIL-STD-810 Test Method 500 –
Low Pressure (Altitude)


Quick look:

  • Tests storing, operating or transporting equipment at a high altitude
  • Intended to look for leaking gaskets, deformation of containers, or sealed containers bursting
  • Generally tests for 15,000 to 40,000 feet
  • Four available test procedures: Storage, operational, transportation and rapid decompression



About MIL-STD-810 Method 500

The purpose of the test is to look at storing, operating or transporting equipment at high altitudes where pressure is low.

Method 500 testing looks for leaking gaskets and container rupture or deformation. These tests identify problems specific to what happens at altitude, generally in the 15,000- to 40,000-foot range depending on whether you’re looking at transportation or operation.

In the electronics industry, we are most concerned about overheating. As you go up in altitude, air density decreases so your mass flow rate—how electronics are cooled—is reduced, which becomes the challenge.

We also looking for things like arcing in components or anything that’s high voltage. Air is a great dielectric to prevent spark gap situations, and at high altitudes, we’re working with less air.

This test method has four available test procedures :

  • Storage: Testing to see if a box or a unit can be stored for a period of time at a higher altitude.
  • Operational: Testing whether a box can operate in a mountainous environment or on an aircraft.
  • Transportation: Testing if the box can be transported safely or if it is damaged when flying it in an unpressurized cargo hold.
  • Rapid decompression: Testing to see if the unit is damaged from a rapid change in air pressure, for example if there’s an emergency in an aircraft.

The operational and rapid decompression tests are the most common tests we do at Crystal Group. You can also find similar types of testing requirements on spec, like DO160, STANAG 4370, as well as an EN spec for Europe.

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