Definitions – Terminology

MIL-STD-810G effectively defines key words which are used throughout testing terminology.

This list of definitions – terminology for testing items is provided for our clients as a courtesy.

Photo courtesy of the Department of Defense terminology

Photo courtesy of the Department of Defense




Testing Terminology Terms from MIL-STD-810

a. Absolute humidity. The density of water in a particular volume of air. The most common units are grams per cubic meter, although any mass unit and any volume unit could be used. Warm air can hold more water vapor than cold air.
b. Accelerated test. A test designed to shorten the controlled environmental test time with respect to the service use time by increasing the frequency of occurrence, amplitude, duration, or any combination of these of environmental stresses that would be expected to occur during service use.
c. Aggravated test. A test in which one or more conditions are set at a more stressful level than the materiel will encounter during service use.
d. Ambient environment. The conditions, either outdoor or confined (e.g., temperature and humidity), that characterize the air or other medium that surrounds materiel.
e. Climatic categories. Specific types of world climates in which materiel is designed to withstand during operation, storage, and transit. See MIL-STD-810G Part One, Annex C, Table C-I and Figure C-1.
f. Combat developer. Military specialist concerned with training, doctrine, and materiel needs documentation.
g. Critical threshold value. The level of an environment forcing function that degrades the capability of materiel significantly or requires degradation prevention measures be taken.
h. Cumulative effects. The collective consequences of environmental stresses during the life cycle of materiel.
i. Detailed Environmental Test Plan (DETP). Detailed plans for conducting environmental tests required to determine if the environmental criteria developed in MIL-STD-810G Task 404 are met and their associated critical issues are satisfied, and to identify critical environmental threshold values for system effectiveness that may be evident during testing
j. Engineering judgment. Expert opinion based on engineering education and experience, especially in the area in which the judgment is made.
k. Environmental analysis. Technical activity covering an analytical description of the effects that various environments have on materiel, subsystems, and component effectiveness.
l. Environmental conditions. (See Forcing function (environment).)
m. Environmental engineering. The discipline of applying engineering practices to the effects that various environments have on materiel effectiveness.
n. Environmental engineering specialist (EES). A person or group of people skilled in one or more environmental engineering areas. Areas include, but are not necessarily limited to: natural and induced environments and their effects on materiel; expertise in measuring and analyzing in-service environmental conditions; formulating environmental test criteria; determining when environmental laboratory tests are appropriate/valid substitutes for natural in-service environmental tests; and evaluating the effects of specific environments on materiel.
o. Environmental test. A structured procedure to help determine the effects of natural or induced environments on materiel.
p. Environmental worthiness. The capability of materiel, subsystem, or component to perform its full array of intended functions in intended environments.
q. Equipment. For purposes of this standard (with the exception of MIL-STD-810G Method 528), equipment includes the instrumentation, facilities, and support apparatus used to conduct or monitor tests. This does not include the test item itself or the materiel of which the test item is a sample or a part.
r. Exaggeration factors. The ratio of the test condition severity to the in-service severity and is used to develop a time compression factor for a particular failure mode.
s. Forcing function (environment). A natural or induced physical environmental stress condition on materiel that may affect its ability to function as intended or to withstand transit or storage during its service life. (Also referred to as an environmental condition or an environmental stress.)
t. Frequency of occurrence. Refers to the process used to differentiate among daily cycles of the climatic design types; i.e., the empirical result observed in real world data. It is based on tabulations and binning of hourly temperatures obtained over many years of observations at data reporting sites.
u. Hermetic seal. A permanent, air-tight seal.
v. Induced environment. An environmental condition that is predominantly man-made or generated by the materiel platform. Also, refers to any condition internal to materiel that results from the combination of natural environmental forcing functions and the physical/chemical characteristics of the materiel itself.
w. In-service use. The anticipated use of materiel during its intended service use life.
x. Integrated Product Team (IPT). A group of individuals from different professional disciplines and organizations (government and industry) who work together on a product from concept through production stages. Individuals who cover a discipline may change from stage to stage, but the discipline is covered, and the information pertinent to that discipline is passed to the succeeding team member(s) in that discipline.
y. Life Cycle Environmental Profile (LCEP). Design and test decision baseline document outlining real-world, platform-specific, environmental conditions that a specific materiel system or component will experience during service-related events (e.g., transportation, storage, operational deployment/use) from its release from manufacturing to the end of its useful life.
z. Life cycle profile. A time history of events and conditions associated with materiel from its release from manufacturing to its removal from service, including demilitarization. The life cycle should include the various phases materiel will encounter in its life, such as: packaging, handling, shipping, and storage prior to use; mission profiles while in use; phases between missions such as stand-by or storage, transfer to and from repair sites and alternate locations; and geographical locations of expected deployment.
aa. Material. The physical constituents comprising materiel, e.g., metals, plastics, cloth, paper, etc.
bb. Materiel. A commodity or set of commodities. With the exception of Method 528, a generic class of hardware designed to perform a specific function. All items (including ships, tanks, self-propelled weapons, aircraft, etc., and related spares, repair parts, and support equipment, but excluding real property, installations, and utilities) necessary to equip, operate, maintain, and support military activities without distinction as to its application for administrative or combat purposes.
cc. Materiel developer. An agency or group of individuals involved in designing, testing, or evaluating materiel to meet developer performance requirements.
dd. Mission profile. That portion of the life cycle profile associated with a specific operational mission.
ee. Operational check. This is a failure finding task to determine if an item is fulfilling its intended purpose. Means to operate the materiel or component as usual (all modes and functions) and determine whether or not it is useable for its intended purpose.
ff. Operational worthiness. The capability of materiel, a subsystem, or component to perform its full array of intended functions.
gg. Parameter. Any quantity that represents a descriptive generalization of a certain characteristic physical property of a system that has a certain value at a particular time.
hh. Parameter level. The value of a physical property that documents the degree, extent, or level at which a parameter exists at a given location at a given point in time, or the value to which a variable test control is set (see test level).
ii. Platform. Any vehicle, surface, or medium that carries the materiel. For example, an aircraft is the carrying platform for installed avionics items or transported or externally mounted stores. The land is the platform for a ground radar set, for example, and a person for a man-portable radio.
jj. Platform environment. The environmental conditions materiel experiences as a result of being attached to or loaded onto a platform. The platform environment is influenced by forcing functions induced or modified by the platform and any platform environmental control systems.
kk. Probability of occurrence. The measure of how likely it is that some event will occur. It is the theoretical distribution and not the actual distribution of the temperatures themselves. It is similar to a sample mean from a data set versus the actual mean of the underlying distribution from which the sample is drawn.
ll. Program manager. The (Government) official who is in charge of the acquisition process for the materiel.
mm. Relative humidity. The ratio of the actual vapor pressure of the air to the saturation vapor pressure. Source: American Meteorological Society. (1959). Glossary of Meteorology. Boston: AMS Relative humidity (RH) indicates the degree of saturation of the air.
nn. Service life. Period of time from the release of materiel from the manufacturer through retirement and final disposition.
oo. Tailoring. The process of choosing design characteristics/tolerances and test environments, methods, procedures, sequences and conditions, and altering critical design and test values, conditions of failure, etc., to take into account the effects of the particular environmental forcing functions to which materiel normally would be subjected during its life cycle. The tailoring process also includes preparing or reviewing engineering task, planning, test, and evaluation documents to help ensure realistic weather, climate, and other physical environmental conditions are given proper consideration throughout the acquisition cycle.
pp. Temperature shock. A change in temperature greater than or equal to 10o C (18o F).
qq. Test item. Specific materiel, a subsystem, or component being tested, including its container and packaging materials, that is representative of the materiel being developed. A representative sample of materiel that is used for test purposes.
rr. Test level. The value at which a test condition is set or recorded. (Also, see parameter level.)
ss. Test method. The criteria and procedures used to formulate an environmental test. Laboratory test methods are identified by the environment (or combinations of environments) in Part Two of this document.
tt. Test plan. A document that may include test procedures and test levels, failure criteria, test schedules, and operational and storage requirements.
uu. Test procedure. A sequence of actions that prescribes the exposure of a test item to a particular environmental forcing function or combination of environmental forcing functions, as well as inspections, possible operational checks, etc.
vv. Time compression. The process of increasing the rate of degradation of materiel in a quantitative manner. The goal is to shorten the test time by increasing the severity of the environment using a physics-based method that retains the correct failure mechanisms without inducing others.
ww. Virtual proving ground. Suite of tools, techniques, and procedures by which the tester will verify, validate, test, and evaluate systems, simulators, and models by exposing them to a synthetic rendition of the ground truth. “Ground truth data” are data collected from real-world tests or experiences.
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