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There is a wide range of standards for materials and materials databases dealing with a variety of aspects such as testing, classification, designation, standard reference materials, use and others. They are produced by many national and international bodies whose purposes and practices are sometimes quite different. Most of these standards have their origins before the time when storage and handling of data in a computer was a possibility and the conservatism of the standards making process has not always assisted in their development to support and assist the materials database manager and all the latest kinds of data user.
Given the rapid development of the materials databases and the hardware available for their application and for the transmission of the data, many database managers believe that standards may be premature, though most welcome the development of guidelines and state of the art assessments. Data users on the other hand look for standards to simplify the problems of access and application arising from the use of data from a variety of sources. Materials producers collectively appear to be most resistant to both the development of standards that recognise the computerized use of the materials data and to the modification of existing standards to cope with the new demands of the engineering designer.
The work of VAMAS TWA10 ‘Materials Databanks’ in prestandardization and that of ASTM Committee E-49 ‘Computerization of Materials Property Data’ in producing standards is compared with that of other standards bodies. The reasons for the differences are examined and the future needs of data users considered.
designations, materials data, quality, standards, terminology, VAMAS
Principal, Consultant, Wilkinson Consultancy Services, Dorking, Surrey