The fiberboard assembly used in 9975 shipping packages as an impact-absorption and insulation component has the capacity to absorb moisture, with an accompanying change to its properties. While package fabrication requirements generally maintain the fiberboard moisture content within manufacturing range, there is the potential during use or storage for atypical handling or storage practices which result in the absorption of additional moisture. In addition to performing a transportation function, the 9975 shipping packages are used as a facility storage system for special nuclear materials at the Savannah River Site. A small number of packages after extended storage have been found to contain elevated moisture levels. Typically, this condition is accompanied by an axial compaction of the bottom fiberboard layers, and the growth of mold. In addition to potential atypical practices, fiberboard can exchange moisture with the surrounding air, depending on the ambient humidity. Laboratory data have been generated to correlate the equilibrium moisture content of cane fiberboard with the humidity of the surrounding air. These data are compared to measurements taken within shipping packages. With a reasonable measurement of the fiberboard moisture content, an estimate of the fiberboard properties can be made. Over time, elevated moisture levels will negatively impact performance properties, and promote fiberboard mold growth and resultant degradation.

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