ASTM International
Published:2013-05-02 05:05:08    Text Size:【BIG】【MEDIUM】【SMALL
Summary:What is ASTM ?

ASTM International (ASTM), originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services. The organization's headquarters is in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, about 5 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

ASTM predates other standards organizations such as BSI (1901), DIN (1917) and AFNOR (1926), but differs from these in that it is not a national standards body, that role being taken in the USA by ANSI. However, ASTM has a dominant role among standards developers in the USA, and claims to be the world's largest developer of standards. Using a consensus process, ASTM supports thousands of volunteer technical committees, which draw their members from around the world and collectively develop and maintain more than 12,000 standards.

ASTM International publishes the Annual Book of ASTM Standards each year in print, CD and online versions. The online version was available by subscription and cost was based upon usage. For 2008, the complete set of books or CDs cost almost USD $9000 and included 81 volumes.


A group of scientists and engineers, led by Charles Benjamin Dudley formed the American Society for Testing and Materials in 1898 to address the frequent rail breaks plaguing the fast-growing railroad industry. The group developed a standard for the steel used to fabricate rails.

The organization celebrated its Centennial in 1998 with an examination of the group's mission and discussion about their relevance in today's global environment.

In 2001, ASTM changes name to ASTM International to reflect global participation in ASTM and worldwide use of its standards.

In 2005 ASTM, in partnership with Citation Technologies, created the first ever dynamic, online web library for Environmental Due Diligence standards. [1]


The standards produced by ASTM International fall into six categories:

  • the Standard Specification, that defines the requirements to be satisfied by subject of the standard.
  • the Standard Test Method, that defines the way a test is performed. The result of the test may be used to assess compliance with a Specification.
  • the Standard Practice, that defines a sequence of operations that, unlike a test, does not produce a result.
  • the Standard Guide, that provides an organized collection of information or series of options that does not recommend a specific course of action.
  • the Standard Classification, that provides an arrangement or division of materials, products, systems, or services into groups based on similar characteristics such as origin, composition, properties, or use.
  • the Terminology Standard, that provides agreed definitions of terms used in the other standards.

The quality of the standards is such that they are frequently used worldwide.

The Annual Book of ASTM Standards covers 15 sections of interest plus a master index:

  1. Iron and Steel Products
  2. Nonferrous Metal Products
  3. Metals Test Methods and Analytical Procedures
  4. Construction
  5. Petroleum Products, Lubricants, and Fossil Fuels
  6. Paints, Related Coatings, and Aromatics
  7. Textiles
  8. Plastics
  9. Rubber
  10. Electrical Insulation and Electronics
  11. Water and Environmental Technology
  12. Nuclear, Solar, and Geothermal Energy
  13. Medical Devices and Services
  14. General Methods and Instrumentation
  15. General Products, Chemical Specialties, and End Use Products
  16. Index to all sections and volumes

ASTM Standards can be purchased as a digital library subscription or individually from qualified [2] standards providers. When maintaining a large standards library, sometimes it is best to purchase a digital subscription to stay current on standards and in compliance with all copyright laws.

Four collections are now available via a dynamic, online portal. EHS Professionals can procure licenses to a Biodiesel portal (which includes the latest ASTM D6751-08 standard), Due Diligence aka Vapor Intrusion portal, Department of Transportation portal, or a Custom Collection portal that can be purchased by section and/or volume across disciplines or the entire compilation in its entirety.

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