ASTM International's Proficiency Test Program is a statistical quality assurance (SQA) tool enabling labs to compare, improve, and maintain performance in conducting tests per ASTM Intl. methods E8/E8M (Tension Test), E18 (Hardness Test), E646 (n value), and E517 (r value) on steel sheet materials.
Conducted biannually, this program provides (for each test cycle) a set of machined test pieces and additional samples from two materials of differing thickness. Each set will consist of three pieces from each material prepared by the program and sufficient material for lab machining of four test pieces. Participants will prepare eight test pieces (one from each rough specimen) in accordance with method E8.
Upon completion of testing, laboratories will return tension and hardness data for samples prepared by the program and for samples prepared by the laboratory. Each laboratory will also return one untested lab-prepared specimen to ASTM Intl. for dimensional tolerance measurements (to verify if lab is preparing specimens in accordance with Method E8/E8M.)
Hardness impressions will be made on the grip ends of the test pieces. The Rockwell Hardness scale will be determined using an appropriate scale based on thickness and nominal hardness of material.
Test data and related information returned to ASTM Intl. will be used in generating statistical summary reports. Reports will contain:
- Coded laboratory test results to maintain
- Statistical analysis of test data
- Charts plotting test results versus lab code
- Other information
Statistical evaluations will include participant's results from the program-prepared test pieces compared to those from the laboratory-prepared test pieces and with pooled results from all participants, with outlier data identified and segregated.
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