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Standards Management in Committee B05

by Eric R. Boes

Copper and its alloys, with their availability, versatility, and durability, have been a part of civilization for over 60 centuries. With the advent of the industrial revolution of the 19th century, a need for consensus-based standardization became critical for product definition and uniformity. Hence the formation of ASTM in 1898. Copper and copper alloy standards development in ASTM began with the founding of Committee B02 on Nonferrous Metals and Alloys just over 100 years ago. Seventy-five years ago, ASTM Committee B05 on Copper and Copper Alloys was created as a “spin-off” of Committee B02 and is celebrating its diamond anniversary in 2004.

Responding to Trends in Copper and Copper Alloys

It’s probably not surprising to a member of ASTM International that even in a field as ancient as that of copper and copper alloys, there are continual advancements, as new technologies and innovations in both processing and application have driven the demand for copper and copper alloys in many new directions.

Committee B05 has continued to evolve in response to these trends, with the addition of new alloys and standard specifications for new applications. Using a toolbox of ASTM Society and committee policies and procedures, as well as a platform of general requirements specifications, guides, classifications, terminology, and B05-developed language, the committee has kept pace with continual changes in the field. Currently, the members of Committee B05 work to maintain 140 standards published in Volume 02.01 of the Annual Book of ASTM Standards.

Broad Participation in a Dynamic Process

Committee B05 draws its strength from its membership. The broad participation of professionals from a wide variety of industry producers and users, researchers, government, regulatory bodies, and industry associations has made Committee B05 a dynamic and resilient technical committee for the past 75 years.

Currently there are 154 members of Committee B05 representing a broad array of organizations in both the private and public sectors. Code and regulatory bodies throughout North America have relied on Committee B05 to maintain relevant and technically sound consensus standards, and members of the American Society of Mechanical Engineer’s Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code committee are also active members of Committee B05. Virtually all of the major manufacturers and users of copper and copper alloys are represented on the committee.

Two famously active participants on Committee B05 are the Copper Development Association, and the Canadian Copper and Brass Development Association. Both organizations, which are also members of numerous other codes and standards committees throughout North America, have participated in the standards development work of Committee B05 for many years. The work of the Canadian Copper and Brass Development Association has been invaluable in securing the acceptance and adoption of ASTM standards for copper and copper alloys in Canadian government codes, thus harmonizing U.S. and Canadian usage of key products such as copper water tube, covered by ASTM B 88, Specification for Seamless Copper Water Tube; copper pipe, covered by ASTM B 42, Specification for Seamless Copper Pipe, Standard Sizes; and roofing copper, as covered in ASTM B 370, Specification for Copper Sheet and Strip for Building Construction, to name a few.

B05’s Technical Subcommittees: Life Blood of Standards Development

The six technical subcommittees of Committee B05 are deeply involved in standardization efforts over the range of copper and copper alloy products available in the marketplace today.

Subcommittee B05.01 on Flat Products covers specifications for sheet, strip and plate, such as B 36/B 36M, Specification for Brass Plate, Sheet, Strip, and Rolled Bar. Recent standards development in the flat products subcommittee has been in the area of electrical and electronic applications. For example, ASTM B 888, Specification for Copper Alloy Strip for Use in the Manufacture of Electrical Connectors or Spring Contacts, was developed to help address some of the needs of the electrical connector industry.

Subcommittee B05.02 on Rod, Bar, Wire, Shapes and Forgings covers a broad range of wrought and forged coppers and copper alloys, including B 16/B 16M, Specification for Free-Cutting Brass Rod and Bar. The subcommittee recently completed a new standard, B 927, Specification for Brass Rod, Bar, and Shapes. This product standard incorporates requirements for binary brass alloys in rod and bar form, previously covered by Federal Specification QQ-B-626, which was cancelled by the U.S. government in February 1991.

Subcommittee B05.04 on Tube and Pipe has jurisdiction over specifications for tubular products, often used in fluid-flow applications where the corrosion resistance and thermal conductivity properties of copper alloys are of great value. For example, copper alloy UNS No. C70600 is included in ASTM B 111, Specification for Copper and Copper Alloy Seamless Condenser Tubes and Ferrule Stock. The subcommittee recently developed two specifications for the heat exchanger field: B 903, Specification for Seamless Copper Heat Exchanger Tubes with Internal Enhancement, and B 919, Specification for Welded Copper Heat Exchanger Tubes with Internal Enhancement.

Subcommittee B05.05 on Castings and Ingots for Remelting is involved with the standardization of cast products such as Standard B 584, Specification for Copper Alloy Sand Castings for General Applications. A recent trend in the copper alloy castings industry is in the area of drinking water applications. The subcommittee has incorporated several new low-lead and lead-free brasses and bronzes into B 30, Specification for Copper Alloys in Ingot Form, for applications in which the customer is producing products requiring compliance with drinking water regulations.

Subcommittee B05.06 on Test Methods supports the other subcommittees with methods used by one or more of the technical subcommittees. The introduction of B 858, Test Method for Ammonia Vapor Test for Determining Susceptibility to Stress Corrosion Cracking in Copper Alloys, provides a way to test copper alloy products intended for use in corrosion-related applications. Prior to its introduction, the laboratory use of mercurous nitrate solutions during testing to Method B 154, Test Method for Mercurous Nitrate Test for Copper and Copper Alloys, was the only option.

Subcommittee B05.07 on Refined Copper maintains specifications on refinery products such as B 49, Specification for Copper Rod Drawing Stock for Electrical Purposes. The products covered by this subcommittee are the basic materials used throughout the copper industry for the fabrication of mill products and copper wire and cable.

A Solid Platform Built for the Demands of Standardization

In several of B05’s technical subcommittees, a “general requirements” specification has been developed. These specifications have a special status within B05 standards, because in each case, they contain general requirements that form a part of the requirements of each of the referenced specifications, and help to provide uniformity. Standards in this category are B 248, Specification for General Requirements for Wrought Copper and Copper-Alloy Plate, Sheet, Strip, and Rolled Bar (and its metric companion B248M), B 249/B 249M, Specification for General Requirements for Wrought Copper and Copper-Alloy Rod, Bar, Shapes and Forgings, B 250/B 250M, Specification for General Requirements for Wrought Copper Alloy Wire, B 251, Specification for General Requirements for Wrought Seamless Copper and Copper-Alloy Tube (and its metric companion B 251M), and B 824, Specification for General Requirements for Copper Alloy Castings.

There are many cases however, where a particular product does not lend itself to referencing a general requirements specification. One example is B 129, Specification for Cartridge Brass Cartridge Case Cups. This product is intended for a very specific application — brass cups for redrawing into cartridge cases for ammunition. Because of the way that this product is specified and ordered, Subcommittee B05.01 has determined that it is best that this standard be maintained as a “stand alone” specification, rather than making reference to a general requirements specification. Figure 1 displays the interrelationships between the guiding documents and specifications of Committee B05.

In addition to the general requirements specifications, Committee B05 has established a set of language, form and style, and terminology management guidelines to provide its members with a solid platform for the development of standard specifications. This promotes uniformity throughout committee standards, and provides task group members with tools that assist with the nuts and bolts of writing and revising a standard.

Committee B05 Outline of Form of Specifications — This white paper was developed by B05 in the early 1980s and has since been revised and maintained by Subcommittee B05.91 on Editorial and Publications. This document provides committee members with guidelines for language, form, and style. It has been approved by committee-wide administrative ballots, and is available on the Committee B05 Web page for task group members developing standards.

The Outline of Form contains information on all sections required for appropriate form and style in Committee B05 specifications. Task groups preparing to revise or develop a new standard utilize the Outline of Form for appropriate sections and language. Approved language and guidance on specific sections is included. For example, in the chemical composition section, the reporting of copper and zinc in chemical analysis is addressed. Grain size of annealed tempers, an important metallurgical property of many brass products, is specifically outlined. Additionally, the wording for special test requirements such as the flattening test for tube is provided.

Additionally, the Editorial Subcommittee, B05.91, uses the Outline of Form along with the Form and Style for ASTM Standards manual (the “Blue Book”) when conducting editorial reviews prior to ballot submittal. It is a Committee B05 policy that all drafts of major revisions or new specifications are to have an editorial review prior to going to ballot. In case of any question, the Blue Book is used ultimately to govern proper form and style.

The Committee B05 Electronic Template is an electronic Microsoft Word file that serves as a template standard specification for copper and copper alloys. It contains B05-approved language that can be edited by task group members drafting new standards or revisions. The electronic template is published on the B05 Web page as an appendix to the Outline of Form.

Additionally, there are a few standards under B05 jurisdiction that have the special status of providing general guidelines for the user as well as the developer of standards on copper and copper alloys.

ASTM B 846, Terminology for Copper and Copper Alloys, is the location of definitions of terms for copper and copper alloys used throughout the copper and copper alloy industry in B05 standards. It is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee B05.93 on Terminology.

ASTM B 601, Classification for Temper Designations for Copper and Copper Alloys—Wrought and Cast, provides a comprehensive guide for establishing the proper temper designation for the copper or copper alloy involved with a particular product. A temper is an alphanumeric designation and description of the properties of a particular alloy when specific processing is applied during manufacturing. In B 601, the temper designations and their descriptions are standardized. This classification is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee B05.91 on Editorial and Publications.

ASTM B 224, Classification of Coppers, is a classification of the various types of copper currently available in refinery shapes and wrought products in commercial quantities. Although it is not a specification for the various types of copper, it establishes the basis for standards and for specifying and procuring copper types for use in various applications. B 224 is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee B05.07 on Refined Copper.

Unfinished Business

Committee members are now seeking ways to best address the usage of SI units (International System of Units), or metric, in what are traditionally inch-pound product standards. Committee B05 task groups are grappling with the best way to combine and publish SI standards that will add value and retain ease of use. An executive subcommittee task group is preparing a set of guiding principles for the publication format of combined inch-pound and SI specifications.

Many of the standards previously published as companion specifications have been combined over the past five years, and, in most cases, the long-term strategy is to create dual designation specifications. However, for one pair of standards, B 88 and B 88M (on copper water tube), Subcommittee B05.04 has established a strategy of maintaining the two specifications as companion standards, rather than as combined or “dual” designation specifications because of the way in which B 88 and B 88M products are used by code and regulatory bodies in the United States and Canada. Some of the general requirements specifications are not yet combined. Each technical subcommittee has the latitude to adopt an approach best suited to the needs of the industry that it serves. Additionally, the committee is seeking better ways to aid in the introduction of new alloys into its array of standards.

Outlook for the Future

The committee is now addressing the needs of the industries it serves with new directions in strategic planning: At its April 2004 meeting the executive subcommittee voted unanimously to create a new administrative subcommittee, B05.94 on Strategic Planning. This new subcommittee will study industry and member needs in order to develop effective strategies for future growth and development. It will create and maintain a written strategic plan for the committee, and continually seek ways in which to enhance the value and use of ASTM standards for copper and copper alloys.

Committee B05’s first 75 years have been about standardizing a broad array of copper and copper alloy products to serve a wide and changing marketplace. The technical soundness and uniformity of B05’s standards has been assured by the ASTM consensus process, coupled with a solid platform of general requirements and a toolbox of language, form and style. //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International

Eric R. Boes, a corporate quality engineer with Delta Faucet Company in Indianapolis, Ind., is first vice-chairman of Committee B05 on Copper and Copper Alloys. He is also a recipient of the ASTM Award of Merit, and a member of the ASTM Committee on Standards.