National Physical Laboratory

Standardisation and VAMAS Activities


NPL has input to the formulation of more than 20 CEN standards on monolithic ceramics through BSI committee RPI/13, Advanced Technical Ceramics and Convenorship of CEN TC184/WG3. We have also helped to update and reformulate IEC 60672 on electrotechnical ceramics through BSI committee GEL/15/3/1, and have contributed to ISO testing standards on ceramics for orthopaedic implants through committee CH/18. We also provide a technical lead for the UK in ISO TC206, Fine Ceramics.

NPL has taken part in most of the VAMAS TWA3 round robin activities since it commenced work in the 1980s, a programme of work which has been valuable in providing supportive data for consensus standards making in new areas. We have also organised three round robins, on hardness testing, on grain size and on phase volume fraction measurement. The outcomes of these studies have provided guidance on instruction for undertaking test procedures as well as evidence of usability and estimates of uncertainty. In many cases these have been written into the standards to support their use.

Additional studies have been made within an EU CEN STAR project, ‘CERANORM’, which examined protocols for surface texture measurement, modulus measurement, oxidation tests and hardness.


NPL participates in ISO TC119/SC4, representing UK hardmetal interests through interaction with the British Hardmetal Research Group. ISO TC119 is concerned with Powder Metallurgical (PM) products; SC4 deals with hardmetal issues. Currently the sub-committee SC4 is developing a mirostructural standard that will include guidelines for quantitative measurement of grain size, and recommendations on accompanying terminology. Imminent future work items will include a new Knoop Hardness standard and a new method for abrasive wear testing; including the current ASTM B611 variant. In the longer term, the subcommittee is planning to look at fracture toughess tests and intercomparisons between different hardness scales (Rockwell and Vickers).

For more information: Ken Mingard

Last Updated: 25 Apr 2012
Created: 29 Apr 2010


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