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MIL-STD-810 Method 502 Low-temperature testing

Clark Testing provides MIL-STD-810, Method 502, which covers low-temperature testing to evaluate the performance and durability of equipment when exposed to low-temperature environments. Low-temperature testing ensures that equipment will operate, function, and maintain its performance under extreme cold conditions.

The test typically involves Clark’s engineering team developing a test plan to subject customer’s equipment to controlled low-temperature conditions in environmental chambers or freezers. The temperature levels, ramp rates, and durations of the tests are specified based on the equipment's intended use and the expected environmental conditions. Method 502 identifies potential issues related to material brittleness, component functionality, battery performance, lubricant viscosity, and other factors affected by cold temperatures.

It specifies different low-temperature test levels that are categorized based on the anticipated temperature conditions and are determined by the equipment's operating temperature range, storage temperature requirements, and deployment scenarios. These levels help ensure that the equipment is tested under relevant and representative low-temperature conditions.

Clark’s engineers will integrate Method 502 with equipment requirements to determine the acceptance criteria that include allowable low temperature limits, functionality at low temperatures, material integrity, performance, viscosity, and other performance parameters. The equipment is assessed based on its ability to withstand the specified low-temperature conditions without sustaining damage or exhibiting performance degradation beyond acceptable limits.

This Method is not intended to simulate the high altitude, low temperature environment associated with an unpressurized aircraft at altitude. However, this method may be used in conjunction with Method 500 to simulate the high altitude, low temperature environment.

This Method includes three test procedures:

Procedure I (Storage),

Procedure II (Operation)

Procedure III (Manipulation)

The equipment operating environment and design specifications to determine the test procedure will depend on the Life Cycle Environmental Profile (LCEP) which will reveal low temperature test requirements. Clark engineering will tailor the procedures as necessary to capture the LCEP variations, but not reduce the basic test requirements reflected in the below procedures.

While all procedures involve low temperatures, they differ based on the timing and nature of performance tests.

Procedure I - Storage. Use Procedure I to investigate how low temperatures during storage affect material safety during and after storage, and performance after storage.

Procedure II - Operation. Use Procedure II to investigate how well the material operates in low temperature environments.

Procedure III - Manipulation. Use Procedure III to investigate the ease with which the materiel can be set up or assembled, operated, and disassembled by personnel wearing heavy, cold-weather clothing. In addition, this could also include maintenance procedures.

Clark engineers help our customers select the appropriate procedures based on the following considerations:

a. The operational purpose of the equipment or material.

b. The natural exposure circumstances.

c. The test data required to determine whether the operational purpose of the material has been met.

(1) The expected temperature at the deployment location.

(2) The expected duration at the deployment location.

(3) The test item configuration.

d. Procedure sequence.

(1) If the material is not intended to be stored at low temperature or manipulated before use, Procedure II is conducted as a standalone test.

(2) Combining Procedures I and II when using constant temperature.

The test engineering team at Clark Testing can help ensure that equipment can operate, function, and maintain its performance under extreme cold conditions. Call or email the Clark Dynamics Test Laboratory for assistance in developing a test plan and conducting the appropriate test to validate you equipment in accordance with MIL-STD-810 Method 502.

Test Set Up

In house custom design and fabrication capabilities (machining and welding) to ensure test fixtures accurately simulation environmental conditions.  FEA capabilities to support fixture design along with welding, fabrication & machining services.  Multiple vibration adapter plates and prefabricated test fixtures help to streamline the testing process.

Instrumentation capabilities including accelerometers and strain gages with multi-channel control and data acquisition equipment ensuring accurate test data is being recorded.  All instrumentation and equipment is provided with measurement uncertainty and compliant   with Clark’s ISO 17025-2017 Quality Program.

Lab technicians and engineers record daily test activities to register all activities, events, and responses during the test.  The daily test logs along with test data, pictures and test procedures are included in comprehensive test report that is the industry standard.

 We work closely with you to validate engineering, ensure quality, analyze test spectrums, and execute accurate testing programs for successful qualification and marketing of your product.

We work closely with you to validate engineering, ensure quality, analyze products and qualify equipment while supporting the time constraints and product cycles that are vital to your success.

Paul Heffernan, CEO of Clark Testing