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Jim Shaw, EVP of Engineering at Crystal Group, discusses MIL-STD-810 Method 504 Testing.

MIL-STD-810 Test Method 504 Contamination by Fluids

Hi Jim Shaw here form Crystal Group, wanted to spend a moment doing another little bit deeper dive into MIL-STD-810.  Today’s topic is Method 504, which is contamination by fluids. And we don’t run into this very often, we see it occasionally depending on where the units are.  It’s predominantly aircraft industry is where we see it, where you have an application where you could have a crew chief that works on a hydraulic system on an aircraft and then goes up and fires up a display, or possibly reconfigures a switch or something like that. So, what the purpose of the test is to really identify those materials that are fluid that could contaminate your product.

And then the test really revolves around whether or not your product can withstand those fluids. Some of you might be talking about IPA or JP4, hydraulic fluid, various kinds of cleaners, there’s NUC chem, biohazard decontamination types of cleaning processes, so it really depends on the application.  So, for us, in the electronics industry, we see this a lot in the display world or anytime that there is equipment that could be reconfigured or is near a contamination point.

These switches, with being an example of being concerned about contamination in the ports, we’ve basically shown these here as an example of something that might have a fluid susceptibility type of requirement levied by method 504.

So, what is it that you’re looking for? Does the paint come off? Does it damage the electronics? The conformal coating, does that come off? Does it damage any adhesives, do the labels fall off? Is the information on the label present after you’ve cleaned the unit off or after it’s been exposed to jet fuel or hydraulic oil or any one of the common cleaning agents that are found in the military or heavy industrial applications?

So, that’s really the focus of method 504 is making sure that you have a unit that is not affected by common chemicals that are in the military or heavy industrial environment. And, so some of the test parameters you’re looking at are exposure times, the different kinds of materials that the unit might be exposed to.  And this is another case where this case is highly configured.

There’s a list of, on the order of 26 different chemicals, that are in the MIL-STD that you could potentially subject your unit to. Usually, the customer will narrow that down to 6 or 7 that are most commonly in that environment for your unit.  Then you’ll test your unit relative to those particular materials. So, that’s the intent of 504 and it’s really just, are you going to have a product that will stand up in the field to rigorous cleaning and exposure. So, that’s it – thanks!

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