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EL Highlights June 2015

EL Highlights June 2015

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Impact of NIST Research and Services


Pioneering EL Research Heralded in ISO Technical Report

Pioneering NIST research in the mid-1980s on the methods for software error compensation for computer numerically-controlled (CNC) machine tools has finally reached industrial maturity such that most commercially available, high-precision machine tools now provide these capabilities. NIST researchers Alkan Donmez, Kang Lee, Thomas Charlton, Ralph Veale, and Bruce Borchardt received an IR-100 award for developing this technology in 1985. Evidence of the current maturity of this technology is reflected in the new ISO technical report, ISO/TR 16907 "Machine Tools - Numerical Compensation of Geometric Errors," published in March2015. The ISO report states that "Numerical compensation of geometric errors has the potential to increase the accuracy of parts produced on machine tools, reduce the costs for production of machine tools and assembly, and reduce the maintenance cost during the life cycle of a machine tool by adding or replacing mechanical refitting."Donmez of EL has been a long-time advocate for machine tool metrology standards and a member of the editorial committee to develop this report within the ISO Technical Committee 39, Subcommittee 2 on "Test Conditions for Metal Cutting Machine Tools." The Technical Report provides terminology associated with numerical compensation, representation of error functions output from different measuring methods, and identification and classification of compensation methods.

 CONTACT: Alkan Donmez 301-975-6618

Programmatic/Technical Accomplishment

EL Contributes to First-Ever ASTM Standard on Relative-Range Measurement Performance

Based on substantial technical contributions from EL,ASTM International recently approved ASTM standardE2938-2015 "Test Method to Evaluate the Relative-Range Measurement Performance of 3D Imaging Systems in the Medium Range." This is the first standard test method to address the performance evaluation of medium range (2 m to 150 m) laser scanners and has been in development for several years. NIST EL researchers are founding members of the ASTM E57committee on 3D Imaging Systems and played lead roles in the development of this standard, including fundamental research to establish key parameters, working with industry stakeholders to define requirements, and developing and testing candidate solutions. This work was conducted in collaboration with several international organizations, such as NRC-Canada and Boeing Corporation, as well as major laser scanner manufacturers. This new standard will help users of medium range laser scanners to better understand the performance of their instruments and to directly compare one instrument to another. These instruments are used in fields such as construction, heritage preservation, forensics, aerospace, manufacturing, and others. EL researchers Gerry Cheok, Kamel Saidi, Marek Franaszek, and several other current and former NIST staff contributed to this development. Kamel serves as the current Chair of the ASTM E57Subcommittee on Test Methods, where this standard was developed.

CONTACT: Kamel Saidi 301-975-6069 and Gerry Cheok 301-975-6074

EL Completes International R&D Roadmap on the Fire Resistance of Structures

An international research and development roadmap on the fire resistance of structures has been developed based on a May 2014 workshop held at NIST and sponsored by EL and the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction. The workshop was attended by over fifty international and domestic participants from academia, industry, professional associations, government, and standard and code development organizations. The Roadmap emphasizes a multi-year multi-institution large-scale experimental program to support performance-based engineering and focuses on the following issues:

  1. Identifying research and development needs for large-scale experiments on fire resistance of structures to support performance-based engineering and structure-fire model validation;
  2. Prioritizing those needs in order of importance to performance-based engineering;
  3. Phasing the needed research in terms of a timeline, i.e. near term (less than 3 years), medium term (3 to 6years) and long term;
  4. Identifying the most appropriate international laboratory facilities available to address each need;
  5. Identifying the potential collaborators and sponsors for each need;
  6. Identifying the primary means to transfer the results from each series of tests to industry through specific national and international standards, predictive tools for use in practice, and comprehensive research reports; and
  7. Identifying the means for the coalition of international partners to review progress and exchange information on a regular basis.

The Roadmap includes three NIST commissioned white papers authored by international experts with emphasis on concrete, steel, and timber built structures respectively. The Roadmap represents a strategic direction to advance performance-based engineering design of structures. A summary of the workshop is available as NIST Special Publication 1188.

CONTACT: Jiann Yang 301-975-6662

EL Develops Tool to Estimate Infiltration Rates for Building Energy Simulation

Unintended infiltration through leaks in building envelopes can have significant impacts on building energy use. However, current energy simulations do not accurately consider envelope infiltration and the benefits of improved airtightness. Multi zone building airflow model scan accurately calculate infiltration rates as a function of building configuration, airtightness, weather conditions and system operation; however, these models are not integrated into energy analysis. The Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation Group of the Energy and Environment Division has developed methods to incorporate infiltration rates from the multi zone airflow model, CONTAM, into the building simulation model, EnergyPlus. EnergyPlus is a whole building energy simulation tool used widely by engineers, architects, and researchers to evaluate energy use in buildings. The web-based CONTAM Results Export Tool, available on NIST Multi zone Modeling Website(,provides users two ways to incorporate CONTAM infiltration rates into an Energy Plus model of a building. One feature exports whole building air change rates and distributes the infiltration uniformly across the entire building envelope. Another feature exports zone-specific air change rates that provide more granularity based on location in the building and local system effects. Both features enable users of EnergyPlus to incorporate more physically-reasonable and building specific infiltration calculations into energy simulations.These features are described in Technical Note 1873,available at

CONTACT: Lisa Ng 301-975-4853

EL Conducts Standards Validation Exercise at FEMA Task Force Leaders Meeting

Staff from the NIST Engineering Laboratory conducted a validation exercise for thirty ASTM International Standard Test Methods for Response Robots in conjunction with a Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force Leaders meeting. The standards are being developed with support from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Standards. The event provided 160 attendees a comprehensive overview of our approach for developing standard test methods, with examples of how such standard scan be used to focus training and leverage the performance measures inherent in the test methods. The response robot test methods included 10 tests for basic skills such as robot maneuvering, dexterity, and situational awareness; 10 mission-essential tasks; and 10 under water tests within a water tank set up on-site. The types of robots participating in the validation exercise included small throwable devices for confined space reconnaissance,mid-size ground vehicles for wide-area surveys of disaster scenes, and aquatic vehicles for harbor and river applications. The NIST team led a roster of local emergency responders and collaborating test administrators from across the country to fabricate test apparatuses, conduct robot evaluations, and facilitate training within the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's Regional Public Safety Training Institute. This is the first responder-led robot testing and training facility based on these standards, although there are several such facilities around the world hosted by test administrator organizations. This is a combined training center for ten area bomb squads and the local FEMA US&R Task Force Team from the San Diego Fire Department (CA-TF8). Other nearby US&R teams include: Orange County Fire Department (CATF5),Riverside Fire Department (CA-TF6), Los Angeles City Fire Department (CA-TF1), and Los Angeles County Fire Department (CA-TF2).NIST staff members contributing to this activity include Adam Jacoff, Ann Virts, Kam Saidi, Hui-Min Huang, Tony Downs, and Gerry Cheok from the EL Intelligent Systems Division, and Dave Schmitt from the NIST Fabrication Division.

CONTACT: Adam Jacoff 301-975-4235


ASHRAE to Recognize Five EL Staff Members

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will recognize five members of EL's Energy and Environment Division(EED) during the awards ceremony at the society's annual meeting in Atlanta, Ga., on June 27, 2015. ASHRAE is a global engineering society and standards development organization dedicated to advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. ASHRAE and its more than 54,000 members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality,refrigeration and sustainability, goals that are strongly aligned with those of the Energy and Environment Division. W. Vance Payne and W. Stuart Dols will each receive the society's Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented to ASHRAE members who have made a significant impact on the society through a variety of contributions including committee involvement and leadership, standards development, publications in the various ASHRAE sponsored media, and presentations to and on behalf of the society. Steve Emmerich will receive the society's Exceptional Service Award during the awards ceremony. The Exceptional Service Award is similar to the Distinguished Service Award, but signifies a much higher level of contributions to the society. Emmerich is only the second person from NIST to receive this award since its inception in 1998.David Yashar, Piotr Domanski, and Hong Hyun Cho(guest researcher) will receive the 2014 best paper of the year award from ASHRAE's research journal. Their paper, An Experimental and Computational Study of Approach Air Distribution for Slanted and A Shaped Finned-Tube Heat Exchangers, (DOI:10.1080/10789669.2014.899466) was published in the July 2014edition of Science and Technology for the Built Environment. David Yashar presented this paper at the society's winter meeting in January 2015 in a special session, and it was later selected by the panel of editors as the best paper published in 2014.

CONTACT: David Yashar 301-975-5868

Created July 6, 2015, Updated September 21, 2016