Package cushioning systems

  • F. A. Paine


The term packaging cushioning systems covers a wide variety of techniques and materials for protecting goods from the effects of impacts and vibration in transit. They range from the traditional application of straw and woodwool in the packaging of glassware, pottery and ceramics, to the highly sophisticated shock isolation systems, incorporating springs and hydraulic shock absorbers, used in packages for aero-engines and space satellites. Goods can be protected against impact in three ways.
  1. 1.

    By spreading the forces on impact over a large area so that the force per unit area is reduced and no part of the product is subjected to concentrated forces

  2. 2.

    By supporting the product at its stronger points so that the forces on impact are directed to those points and not to the weaker ones

  3. 3.

    By reducing the forces and hence the deceleration on impact by using materials which compress on impact and cushion the product by absorbing the energy of the impact and converting the short duration/high intensity forces to lower intensity/longer duration forces which are less damaging

Methods 1 and 2 do not require a compressible material or system to reduce damage to the exterior of a product but will not necessarily prevent internal damage for example in electronic equipment or a complex mechanical assembly. In practice, cushioning systems combine method 3 with load spreading or directing forces through the area of contact and the placing of the system in contact with the goods.


Polyurethane Foam Package User Drop Height Thickness Loss Ethylene Vinyl Acetate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. A. Paine
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.International Association of Packaging Research InstitutesUSA
  2. 2.School of PackagingMichigan State UniversityUSA

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