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EL Highlights May 2011

EL Highlights for May 2011

NIST Engineering Laboratory Developing Measurement Science Roadmap for Workability of Cementitious Materials

Researchers in the Materials and Construction Research Division of the Engineering Laboratory conducted a one-day Measurement Science Roadmap for Workability of Cementitious Materials workshop on March 18, 2011 at NIST. The workshop attracted over 30 national and international representatives including concrete producers, contractors, equipment manufacturers, facility owners, concrete industry associations, and universities. The purpose of this workshop was to identify and prioritize the measurement science needs for assessing and optimizing the placement and consolidation of fresh cementitious materials at the time of construction. 

The principal outcome from the workshop will be a 5-year roadmap outlining R&D, measurement science, and technology service needs, of both the private and public sectors, for improving the mixing, placement, consolidation, and finishability of cementitious construction materials. This roadmap will also provide a framework for developing new workability standards and codes for cement-based materials. Researchers in the NIST Engineering Laboratory will use feedback from this workshop in helping to prioritize their future measurement science research direction.  

CONTACT: Chiara Ferraris (EL), 301 975 6711, Nicos Martys (EL), 301 975 5915

NIST Engineering Laboratory Releases Climate Suitability Tool to Analyze Potential for Natural Ventilation in Sustainable Buildings

The Engineering Laboratory has developed a software tool, called the Climate Suitability Tool or CST, which implements a calculation method that was developed at NIST to assess the suitability of a climate for cooling a building through the use of natural ventilation. National ventilation has the potential to greatly reduce building energy use relative to mechanical cooling. Also, several studies have shown the building occupants prefer natural ventilated spaces to those that are mechanically cooled.

The Climate Suitability Analysis Technique implemented in this tool is based on a general single-zone thermal model of a building configured and operated to make optimal use of direct and/or nighttime ventilative cooling. Based on this model, an algorithm was developed to process hourly annual weather data, using established thermal comfort criteria, to complete the evaluation. The tool includes the capability to consider an adaptive thermal comfort option which has the potential to substantially increase the effectiveness of natural ventilation cooling for many U.S. climates.

The CST allows the architect or designer of a sustainable building to consider the potential usefulness of natural ventilation at an early stage of a project, when minimal information is available about the building design. Along with other information, it enables an informed decision to be made on whether to pursue a natural ventilation system option. It also establishes preliminary estimates of design ventilation rates needed for design calculations.

The Climate Suitability Tool is available for download from NIST at

CONTACTSteven Emmerich, 301 975 6459

NIST Engineering Laboratory (EL) Tests Upcoming Release of Open Applications Group Integration Specification

In response to industry's need to develop integrated data exchange solutions and test integration specifications, EL developed an architecture capturing the activities involved in creating and maintaining manufacturing data exchange standards.  EL also developed a suite of tools for testing, validating, and speeding the development of enterprise data exchange standards based on this new architecture.  These tools, collectively referred to as the Schema Quality of Design (QOD) tools, use rules set by users or use those already established by other parties to validate a schema.

Organizations that have used the NIST QOD tool include the Open Applications Group (OAGi), which is a not-for-profit standards development organization (SDO).  Other users include the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of the Navy. 

One particular tool, the OAGi Naming and Design Rules (NDR) Test Profile, has been used to evaluate the Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS) versions prior to release.  OAGIS is an effort to provide a business language for information integration.  Over the last four versions (OAGIS versions 9.0-9.4), NIST's testing resulted in finding and eliminating more than 150 errors, drastically improving the overall quality of the OAGIS before wide release as a standard to vendors and users. Ninety implementations of the corrected supply chain integration standard are in use today.

Most recently, NIST tested the OAGIS 9.5 release candidate, and provided feedback to OAGi.  Two errors in modifications to the standards were uncovered from the 9.4 version. This 9.5 release of the standard is significantly larger than previous releases. The size of the standard now practically prohibits the use of manual error checking exclusively. Only by using automated tools and computer interpretable rule language, such as those developed by EL, can many errors be found.

Contact: KC Morris, 301 975 8286


Created June 23, 2011