This paper reviews the cooperation between ASTM and the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in a Research Associate Program to certify and distribute metal Standard Reference Materials (SRMs). Since the initiation of the program in 1975, more than 200 SRM types have been completed and made available to the technical community. Besides describing the cooperative effort, the paper summarizes the status of the metal SRM program at NBS and shows how SRMs, in general, integrate with the standards-writing activities of ASTM. While this shared activity has been very successful over the past 12 years—in fact, a model for industry-government technical cooperation—a difficult technical problem must now be resolved to assure future success. That problem is a growing shortage of classical chemists who are expert in the analytical chemical metrology needed to certify SRMs. A proposal is made that the joint work of ASTM and NBS be expanded to include addressing this serious shortage.
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