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Jim Shaw, EVP of Engineering at Crystal Group, discusses MIL-STD-810 Method 510.5 Testing.

Video Transcript: Episode 75 – “MIL-STD-810 Test Method 510.5 Sand & Dust”

Hi, Jim Shaw here from Crystal Group and we’re here to talk more in-depth in terms of MIL-STD-810 and we’re really focused on method 510 today which is sand and dust. And essentially, what are you looking for in sand and dust testing? And what’s the purpose of that test? So that’s looking at as material goes through your systems or settles on your systems you’re looking for mechanical problems where things jam up, you’re looking for a collection on heatsinks where this may impact the thermal performance, you’re looking at abrasion and so these are the kinds of things that you’re trying to look at both from the visual as well as the electrical performance, the mechanical performance of the system that you’re trying to test.

There’s really two types of sand that’s used in sand and dust and there’s three procedures that you use. So the first kind of sand or dust is a very, very fine talc and that’s primarily around 149 microns or less and so that’s that very fine silt talc material. You hear a lot about this in Desert Storm and Desert Shield where computers were getting filled up with this material and they were starting to not perform thermally or there were problems with the fans that needed to be replaced.

And so you can design kits for that type of thing where they go in the front of the unit. The second type of sand or material that’s used is typically 150-850 micron and that is more of a fine sand, usually a silicon dioxide material. There’s a red China clay, a red China sand that they typically use as a common medium for this kind of testing. So the tests are generally done and there’s three procedures that you can do.

Procedure one involves blowing dust and that’s usually a six hour test for the unit and you’re looking at a 1.5 meter per second to 10 meter per second type of a velocity for the dust. Blowing sand is procedure 2 and that’s in the range of 18 meters per second. Again, these are all tailorable but that’s generally a 90 minute test whereas settling dust they do specify as around 105 micron. There’s really no air flow in that and it’s really a three day test. And so you’re looking at the effects of either blowing dust, sand or settling dust in this testing. All of these are done at room temperature and around 30% relative humidity.

And then procedure three is one of those procedures where that’s settling dust and you’re looking for how long can the product sit in a dusty environment and just be settled. Any one of these tests, they’re looking for at least a ten minute operation at the end of the test just to make sure that things are still functioning, filters are not clogged, things like that. As with all of the MIL-STD-810 testing these parameters need to be tailored for the applications.

And so there’s quite a bit of tailoring associated with the testing. When you get done with a test then you’re looking for does the unit perform to the specifications? Is there any visual damage? That kind of inspection is generally what’s done for the final test article after you get done with the testing. So again, what are you looking for? Electrically did you degrade? Thermally did you overheat? Mechanically do you see any visual abrasion or loss of paints or protective coatings, anything that could cause damage to the system? And so that’s generally what you’re looking for in sand and dust. That’s kind of just a quick summary of what it is the test is for and how you do it. Thanks a lot.

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