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Standards with a Long Reach

by Tom O'Toole

ASTM Committee E01 on Analytical Chemistry for Metals, Ores, and Related Materials writes standards that are germane across industry lines and to the work of several other committees.

Background

For almost 70 years ASTM Committee E01 on Analytical Chemistry for Metals, Ores, and Related Materials and its predecessor committees have written test methods, practices, guides and terms in the field of the chemical and spectrometric analysis and sampling of metal and ores.

Although officially organized in 1990 as Committee E01 on Analytical Chemistry for Metals, Ores and Related Materials, the committee traces its roots to the formation of former Committee E02 on Emission Spectroscopy in 1932 and former Committee E03 on Chemical Analysis of Metals in 1935. To better serve the membership, these committees were consolidated along with Committee E16 on Sampling and Analysis of Metals and Ores into the current committee.

Essentially Committee E01 members develop standards for the chemical and spectrometric analysis and sampling procedures for ASTM committees that write standards for ferrous and nonferrous metals and metal-bearing ores. Although most new methods are developed using spectrometric instrumentation, the committee continues to maintain a number of traditional “wet” chemical methods as reference methods.

Structure

The committee is organized into three areas of discipline. Subcommittees E01.01 through E01.08 cover methods and practices for specific metals, alloys and ores. Subcommittees E01.20 through E01.25 cover general methods, practices, and guides to be used regardless of the chemical composition. Finally Subcommittees E01.90 through E01.94 are the administrative subcommittees that perform administrative functions and provide guidance to the committee.

Other Programs

In addition to developing over 165 standards, the committee actively sponsors four ASTM Proficiency Test Programs:

Plain Carbon and Low-Alloy Steel (Chemical Analysis)
Stainless Steel (Chemical Analysis)
Aluminum (Chemical Analysis)
Determination of Gold in Bullion

These programs are used to satisfy proficiency testing elements of laboratory accreditation and provide useful quality control tools to monitor the strengths and weaknesses of laboratory performance. ASTM Committee E01 test methods are used to conduct these programs which provide a periodic comparison of test results and calculated statistical parameters with others in the metals analysis and global analytical community. These test results are a useful quality reference sample upon completion of testing.

Since 1976, the ASTM Coordinating Committee on Standard Reference Materials for Metals, Metal-Bearing Ores, and Related Materials has provided a unique service to the metals, alloys, and ores industries by providing industry recommendations for Standard Reference Materials to the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST). (In 1998 this group was reorganized as Subcommittee E01.94 on Development of Reference Materials for the Chemical Analysis of Metals, Metal-Bearing Ores, and Related Materials.)

Recommendations for future reference materials for metals and metal-bearing ores are solicited from committee members, participants of the E01-sponsored Proficiency Test Programs, and others. Since the start of this government-industry partnership, recommendations from this program have led to NIST issuing 100 new Standard Reference Materials. A newly developed review procedure in Subcommittee E01.94 also allows for the development of certified reference materials to support the demands of the metals industry.

Dedication to Statistics and Quality

Committee E03, one of the predecessors to E01, was one of the first committees to formalize the interlaboratory testing studies of its test methods with the publication in 1960 of standard E 173. Practice for Conducting Interlaboratory Studies of Methods for Chemical Analysis of Metals. Since then, Committee E01 has adopted the principles of Committee E11 standard E 691, Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method, and has developed over a dozen statistical practices specifically for using with analytical chemical methods.

Committee E01 continues to take the precision of its methods seriously and the committee maintains its commitment to the policy that all methods contain the precision data resulting from interlaboratory testing at or before the method is balloted. Committee members feel that it is important to let the user know that all approved E01 methods are the result of comprehensive interlaboratory testing studies.

In November 2000 E01 published its long-awaited Quality Manual. This manual covers all aspects of the committee’s operation. The intent of the manual is to help any new officer or member understand the organization, structure, and operating procedures of the committee. The manual also contains a detailed history of articles published by Committee E01 and its predecessors in ASTM Standardization News. It is the committee’s intention to post this document and others to its Web site.

Liaison

The liaison functions of the committee are important and it is crucial that ASTM product specification writers recognize the part in which Committee E01 standards play in analyzing these product specifications. To this extent, E01 is continuously seeking input from committees that standardize ferrous and non-ferrous materials and meets at the May and November Committee Weeks to assist in liaison efforts. To further extend the liaison functions, Committee E01 continues to spread the word of its efforts by being one of the first committees to have their newsletter on the ASTM Web site. The newsletter not only provides details of the events concerning actions on each standard but also provides details for future plans of the committee.

New Areas of Growth

Due to the increasing demand for accreditation and quality assurance, the committee has recently published several standards to further assist laboratories beyond analytical chemical techniques. Newly published standards such as E 2053, Guide for Planning, Carrying Out, and Reporting Traceable Chemical Analyses of Metals, Ores, and Related Materials, and E 2093, Guide for Optimizing, Controlling and Reporting Test Method Uncertainties from Multiple Workstations in the Same Laboratory Organization, were developed to provide further guidance in these areas.

Subcommittee E01.22 on Statistics and Quality Control is currently balloting a proposed new Practice for Establishing an Uncertainty Budget for the Chemical Analysis of Metals, Ores, and Related Materials. This proposed new practice describes a model for establishing ISO 17025-compliant uncertainty budgets for the chemical analysis of metals, alloys, and ores and allows individual laboratories to set measurement quality objectives that consistently pass proficiency tests and establish control protocols in a cost-effective manner. (See related article.)

Another new addition to the committee is the recently formed Subcommittee E01.25 on Analytical Data Interchange Protocols. This subcommittee has developed seven standards related to systems for managing, integrating, and interchanging laboratory information in order to facilitate the reuse of data from multiple sources.

Committee E01 has learned to change with the dynamic forces of industry and regulation and continues to evolve into the premier standards developer for standards in the fields of chemical and spectrometric analysis and sampling of metal and ores. Input from other committees is always encouraged in these areas.

Committee E01 next meets November 7 in Dallas, Texas. For meeting information or membership details, contact Staff Manager Tom O’Toole, ASTM (phone: 610/832-9739). //

Copyright 2001, ASTM

Tom O’Toole has been a manager in the Technical Committee Operations Division since 1996. Before joining ASTM he worked for the Planning and Engineering for Repairs and Alterations Detachment of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Philadelphia, Pa. He is an active member of the National Institute of Package Handling and Logistics Engineers.