Bookmark and Share

Standardization News Search
Global Notebook
Papers Wanted: Steel Utility Distribution Poles

The American Iron and Steel Institute announces a call for papers that demonstrate the benefits of using steel utility distribution poles. The papers should emphasize the cost, environmental, installation, reliability and maintenance advantages in using steel poles. Participants are invited to submit an abstract of no more than two pages describing the project, location, owner, and benefits of steel distribution poles. The abstract form can be downloaded. If the abstract is accepted by AISI, participants will be invited to submit a “white paper” elaborating on the issues above. Abstracts are due to AISI by Dec. 3.

NIST To Carry Out Two-Year, Multi-Million Dollar Federal Investigation Into World Trade Center Collapse

The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently announced the details of its $16 million, two-year federal building and fire safety investigation into the structural failure and subsequent collapse of World Trade Center Buildings 1 and 2 ("The Twin Towers") and WTC Building 7. The investigation, which has been supported by the recent passage of an emergency supplemental appropriations bill, will focus on the building construction, the materials used and all of the technical conditions that contributed to the outcome of the WTC disaster. The study will involve the participation of experts from industry, academia and other laboratories, complementing NIST’s own in-house capabilities.

Demonstrating the effectiveness of cooperation between the private and public sectors, NIST will also draw on the expertise of a private-sector coalition that includes professionals from the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Institute of Steel Construction. NIST will also maintain liaison with the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the Structural Engineers Association of New York, as well as other industry organizations, standards and codes bodies. Additionally, NIST will keep contact with the families of building occupants and first responders, and organizations representing families of victims.

New Alloy

A new high-strength aluminum-silicon alloy developed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., promises to reduce engine emissions and could improve gas mileage in cars, boats and recreational vehicles. The new alloy, co-invented by Jonathan Lee, a NASA structural materials engineer, was originally developed for the automotive industry. Lee and co-inventor PoShou Chen, a scientist with Morgan Research Corp., began work on the new alloy seven years ago when a major automobile manufacturer approached NASA about developing a strong and low-cost aluminum alloy for use in a piston redesign that would lower engine emissions. Lee and Chen came up with MSFC-398, a wear-resistant alloy that exhibits dramatic strength at temperatures as high as 500 to 700°F (260 to 370°C). Two U.S. patents have been awarded with other domestic patents pending. An international patent is pending for the technology as well.

Non-Physical Standard for Kilogram

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are working on redefining the kilogram. The International System of Units (known as SI) includes seven basic units that define such dimensions as time, length, and temperature. The kilogram represents the “final frontier” for SI because it is the only unit still based on a physical standard—a century-old platinum-iridium cylinder stored in France. The other units are based on unchanging physical phenomena such as the speed of light. NIST’s electronic kilogram project is designed to redefine mass in terms of fundamental physics and quantum standards. This is being achieved with a two-story-high apparatus that measures—with extraordinary precision—how much current passes through a wire coil in a strong magnetic field to balance the pull of gravity on a one-kilogram mass standard, and how much voltage is generated by moving the coil. With these exact measurements and the known equivalence of electrical and mechanical power, NIST’s kilogram team relates mass to electrical units.

Voices of Innovation

The American Association of Engineering Societies has announced their new public radio program, "Voices of Innovation." It provides listeners with a window into the lives of engineers who transform imagination and ingenuity into technological wonders. This daily short format program delves into the passions, excitement and genius that inspires the men and women who make technological miracles a part of our everyday experience. To submit a story, request a story form from David Gately, AAES (phone: 202/296-2237 ext. 16) or go to the Web site. //

Copyright 2002, ASTM