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What are ASTM standards?

by Apr 15, 2017News

Without consistent standards, you can never be sure that the duplex stainless steel you bought from one manufacturer is the same as what you buy from a new one for another project. To ensure safety and consistency, ASTM International has established voluntary standards that are used throughout the world.

About the ASTM

ASTM was first founded in 1898 as the American Section of the International Association for Testing Materials. The group’s original purpose was to address railroad safety. Rails would often break due to a lack of standardized performance; the scientists and engineers created minimum standards for fabricating rails. The group has gone through some name changes during its life; it became the American Society for Testing and Materials before finally being renamed ASTM International in 2001. They have offices in Washington, D.C, Belgium, China, Canada and Mexico.

Membership in the ASTM is open to anyone with an interest in its activities. There are over 30,000 members in the organization from 140 countries. They include material users, producers and consumers. 

Complying to ASTM Standards

At this time, there are over 13,000 ASTM Standards. Some set standards for materials such as carbon steel, zinc coatings and other materials. Others, like F 963 set standards for toy safety.

While ASTM Standards are voluntary, they have been adopted into a number of federal, state and municipal regulations in the US. Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, the federal government is required to use privately developed consensus standards wherever they can. Other governments throughout the world have referenced ASTM standards in their regulations.

Are There Other Similar Authorities?

A number of other organizations set standards for safety and consistency, as well. ISO (the International Organizations for Standardization) was formed in 1947 and promotes standards for industrial and commercial applications. You will frequently see ISO grades listed for steel. SAE International maintains an alloy numbering system that includes the SAE steel grades system. In the past, steel grades were also standardized by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) which turned over the maintenance of their grading system to SAE back in 1995. While many standards are international, there are also a number that are specific to one country, such as France’s AFNOR.

Materials from Great Plains Stainless all meet ASTM standards. This helps you ensure that the products that you create are compliant and safe. Have a question about a material, such as duplex stainless steel? Get in touch and our skilled staff can help.