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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


The majority of corrugated boxes are transported and stored on pallets where the reduced support area due to deckboard gaps has an adverse effect on the strength of the corrugated boxes Therefore, an adjustment factor is used to adjust the box compression strength to account for the lack of support, but these factors were developed for a limited range of deckboard gaps, box sizes, and box orientations. In addition, there is no predictive model that can estimate the reduction in compression strength based on the size of the box and the size of the gap. The main objective of this study was to investigate and predict the loss in compression strength produced by top deckboards with a wide range of gaps between them using empirical data from two different corrugated box sizes.

Results indicated that corrugated box compression strength decreased as the gap between the pallet deckboards increased. Larger boxes (305mm wide) were far less susceptible to the effect of gaps than the smaller boxes. A decrease in strength was observed when the location of the gap was relocated within 10 mm of the box corner. Gaps were found to produce the same reduction in compression strength when subdivided into two smaller gaps. Finally, a modification of the McKee equation was put forth and the analysis found the equation to be capable of predicting the loss in compression strength produced by gaps. The predictive accuracy was similar to the original McKee equation, and thus equally limited by the inherently large variation in corrugated boxes.