Standard Withdrawn, No replacement   Last Updated: Jan 10, 2020
ASTM D6059-96(2011)

Standard Test Method for Determining Concentration of Airborne Single-Crystal Ceramic Whiskers in the Workplace Environment by Scanning Electron Microscopy (Withdrawn 2020)

Significance and Use

The SCCW may be present in the workplace atmosphere where these materials are manufactured, processed, transported, or used. This test method can be used to monitor airborne concentrations of SCCW fibers in these environments. It may be employed as part of a personal or area monitoring strategy.

This test method is based on morphology and elemental composition. The analysis technique has the ability to identify SCCW.

Note 1—This test method assumes that the analyst is familiar with the operation of SEM/EDS instrumentation and the interpretation of data obtained using these techniques.

This test method is not appropriate for measurement of fibers with diameters 0.10 to 0.25 μm due to visibility limitations associated with SEM. The TEM method may be used to provide additional size information of SCCW if needed (see Practice D6058 for additional information on the use of this test method).

Results from the use of this test method shall be reported along with 95 % confidence limits for the samples being studied. Individual laboratories shall determine their intralaboratory coefficient of variation and use it for reporting 95 % confidence limits (1,3,4).


1.1 This test method covers the sampling methods and analysis techniques used to assess the airborne concentration and size distribution of single-crystal ceramic whiskers (SCCW), such as silicon carbide and silicon nitride, which may occur in and around the workplace where these materials are manufactured, processed, transported, or used. This test method is based on the collection of fibers by filtration of a known quantity of air through a filter. The filter is subsequently evaluated with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) for the number of fibers meeting appropriately selected morphological and compositional criteria. This test method has the ability to distinguish among many different types of fibers based on energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) analysis. This test method may be appropriate for other man-made mineral fibers (MMMF).

1.2 This test method is applicable to the quantitation of fibers on a collection filter that are greater than 5 μm in length, less than 3 μm in width, and have an aspect ratio equal to or greater than 5:1. The data are directly convertible to a statement of concentration per unit volume of air sampled. This test method is limited by the diameter of the fibers visible by SEM (typically greater than 0.10 to 0.25 μm in width as determined in 12.1.5) and the amount of coincident interference particles.

1.3 A more definitive analysis may be necessary to confirm the presence of fibers with diameters 0.10 to 0.25 μm in width. For this purpose, a transmission electron microscope (TEM) is appropriate. The use of the TEM method for the identification and size measurement of SCCW is described in Practice D6058 and Test Method D6056.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

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