ASTM International

ASTM International

ASTM International (ASTM), originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services. The organization's headquarters is in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, about 5 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

ASTM predates other standards organizations such as BSI (1901), DIN (1917) and AFNOR (1926), but differs from these in that it is not a national standards body, that role being taken in the USA by ANSI. However, ASTM has a dominant role among standards developers in the USA, and claims to be the world's largest developer of standards. Using a consensus process, ASTM supports thousands of volunteer technical committees, which draw their members from around the world and collectively develop and maintain more than 12,000 standards.

ASTM International publishes the "Annual Book of ASTM Standards" each year in print, CD and online versions. The online version was available by subscription and cost was based upon usage. For 2008, the complete set of books or CDs cost almost USD $9000 and included 81 volumes.


A group of scientists and engineers, led by Charles Benjamin Dudley formed the "American Society for Testing and Materials" in 1898 to address the frequent rail breaks plaguing the fast-growing railroad industry. The group developed a standard for the steel used to fabricate rails.

The organization celebrated its Centennial in 1998 with an examination of the group's mission and discussion about their relevance in today's global environment.


The standards produced by ASTM International fall into six categories:
* the Standard Specification, that defines the requirements to be satisfied by subject of the standard.
* the Standard Test Method, that defines the way a test is performed. The result of the test may be used to assess compliance with a Specification.
* the Standard Practice, that defines a sequence of operations that, unlike a test, does not produce a result.
* the Standard Guide, that provides an organized collection of information or series of options that does not recommend a specific course of action.
* the Standard Classification, that provides an arrangement or division of materials, products, systems, or services into groups based on similar characteristics such as origin, composition, properties, or use.
* the Terminology Standard, that provides agreed definitions of terms used in the other standards.The quality of the standards is such that they are frequently used worldwide.

The "Annual Book of ASTM Standards" covers 15 sections of interest plus a master index:

  1. Iron and Steel Products
  2. Nonferrous Metal Products
  3. Metals Test Methods and Analytical Procedures
  4. Construction
  5. Petroleum Products, Lubricants, and Fossil Fuels
  6. Paints, Related Coatings, and Aromatics
  7. Textiles
  8. Plastics
  9. Rubber
  10. Electrical Insulation and Electronics
  11. Water and Environmental Technology
  12. Nuclear, Solar, and Geothermal Energy
  13. Medical Devices and Services
  14. General Methods and Instrumentation
  15. General Products, Chemical Specialties, and End Use Products
  16. Index to all sections and volumes

ASTM Standards can be purchased as a digital library subscription or individually from qualified [ IHS] ] standards providers. When maintaining a large standards library, sometimes it is best to purchase a digital subscription to stay current on standards and in compliance with all copyright laws.

Membership and organization

Membership in the organization is open to anyone with an interest in its activities [ Open membership in ASTM] ] . Standards are developed within committees, and new committees are formed as needed, upon request of interested members. Membership in most committees is voluntary and is initiated by the member's own request, not by appointment nor by invitation. Members are classified as users, producers, consumers,and "general interest". The latter include academics and consultants. Users include industry users, who may be producers in the context of other technical committees, and end-users such as consumers. In order to meet the requirements of antitrust laws, producers must constitute less than 50% of every committee or subcommittee, and votes are limited to one per producer company. Because of these restrictions, there can be a substantial waiting-list of producers seeking organizational memberships on the more popular committees. Members can, however, participate without a formal vote and their input will be fully considered.

As of 2007, more than 30,000 members, including over 1100 organizational members [ ASTM Organizational Membership Directory] ] , from more than 120 countries, including 120 members in China as of 2005. [ ASTM Standardization News, August 2005 Feature by Zhang Li Hon, "Standards: The New Focus in China’s Exchange with the World"] ]

ASTM International is recognized by the US Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Mandatory use of voluntary standards

ASTM International has no role in requiring or enforcing compliance with its standards. The standards, however, may become mandatory when referenced by an external contract, corporation, or government.

* In the United States, ASTM standards have been adopted, by incorporation or by reference, in many federal, state, and municipal government regulations. The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act, passed in 1995, requires the federal government to use privately developed consensus standards whenever possible. The Act reflects what had long been recommended as best practice within the federal government.
* Other governments (local and worldwide) also have referenced ASTM standards [ Transport Canada use of ASTM] ]
* Corporations doing international business may choose to reference an ASTM standard.


See also

*Materials property
*Pt/Co scale
*Standards organizations
*International standards
*ASTM D6751: Production of biodiesel in the USA and Canada
*ASTM D975: Production of petrodiesel in USA and Canada

External links

* [ ASTM International]

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