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Sustainable Engineered Materials


The objective of the Sustainable Engineered Materials Program is to develop and deploy advances in measurement science for sustainable materials used in manufacturing and construction, including cementitious and polymer composite materials.


The standards used to classify and specify materials used in infrastructure, construction, and manufacturing are not able to ensure sustainable performance for the materials, because they are not adequately based on a measurement science foundation that addresses essential materials issues. This materials program approaches the solution of this problem from the perspective of service life prediction, a crucial sustainability metric, and applies this concept to polymer composites and concrete. These two material thrusts will develop measurement science composed of a combination of characterization, performance measurement, accelerated durability tests, and modeling to develop standards that will be used by industry and specified by end-users in these broad application areas to enable service life prediction and thus help to ensure sustainable materials performance.

Measurement science research that results in standards used to classify and specify materials used in infrastructure, construction, and manufacturing is closely aligned with the NIST Engineering Laboratory (EL) Strategic Goal of Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Manufacturing, Materials, and Infrastructure. This program supports EL’s mission, follows EL’s vision, and relies on one of the EL core competencies of durability and service life prediction of materials. NIST/EL is internationally known for the assessment of performance, durability and service life prediction of polymer composites and concrete, and has the instrumentation, computer hardware and software, and expert personnel to be able to carry out this program. Industry stakeholders have recognized this as evidenced by their willingness to partner with the program in various consortia and road mapping activities. State and federal agencies partner with NIST/EL by using the program’s unique measurement science and services capabilities to support their mission/agency goals.

Major Accomplishments:

Some recent accomplishments for the Sustainable Engineered Materials Program include:
  • All the weathering standards for sealants and building joints in ASTM C24 Building Joints and Sealants have been changed to include mechanical movement. “Weathering” in this committee now is defined as having a mechanical movement component, a key variable in service life prediction, solely due to the measurement science research of this program.
  • ASTM C1760-12 Standard Test Method for Bulk Electrical Conductivity of Hardened Concrete and ASTM C1585 Sorptivity Test Method, approved in FY12. These two documents standardize two key transport property measurements that are used in service life prediction.
  • ASTM C1749-2012: Standard Guide for Measurement of the Rheological Properties of Hydraulic Cementitious Paste Using a Rotational Rheometer. First of a suite of standards that will allow the quantitative use of calibrated concrete rheometers.
  • ASTM C1761-2012  Standard Specification for Lightweight Aggregates for Internal Curing of Concrete. Standardizes how to cure concrete to achieve low-cracking potential, giving more durable concrete.

The SPHERE (Simulated Photodegradation by High Energy Radiant Exposure) © Nicholas McIntosh

Start Date:

October 1, 2011

Lead Organizational Unit:




General Information:

Program Manager: Dr. Aaron Forster
301 975 8701 Telephone

100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8615
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8615