By National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Board on Assessment of NIST Programs

The nationwide Institute of criteria and expertise (NIST) Measurements and criteria Laboratories (MSL) supply technical management for the nation's dimension and criteria infrastructure and guarantee the supply of crucial reference info and dimension functions. At NIST's request, the nationwide study Council (NRC) incorporates out a biennial review of the seven MSL. The overview makes a speciality of each one laboratory's technical caliber and benefit; and effectiveness. It additionally examines the relevance of the NIST courses and the way good laboratory amenities, gear, and team of workers may be able to fulfil the MSL undertaking. This document offers an total review of the MSL by means of distinct checks of every of the seven laboratories.

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The division does not have high-flow-rate natural gas measurement capabilities that are equivalent to the best NMIs in the world; this deficiency is potentially detrimental to the nation’s commercial competitiveness in this area by not having NIST-traceable metering standards. The division is addressing this issue, however, by developing relationships with two companies that do have outstanding high-flow-rate test and calibration stands. This collaboration should allow the division to improve capabilities and to reduce uncertainties and thus to match or exceed those of the best European NMIs quickly and at reduced cost.

The WTC investigation and, to a lesser extent, the investigation of the nightclub fire at The Station in West Warwick, Rhode Island, have energized FRD. The enthusiasm of those reporting to the panel on their research was palpable, and the excitement of seeing FRD’s contributions receive recognition within NIST and nationally has stimulated all members of the division. The response to the WTC event has helped strengthen the integration of efforts within the division and also has also strengthened ties between FRD and the other divisions within BFRL.

The BFRL was very active during the past 2 years, to a large extent because of the extra burdens of major research for the country on the WTC investigations and the application of new and developed procedures for the determination of contaminant spread in buildings. The WTC activities, along with the investigation of the fire at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island, represent the first two official investigations carried out under NCSTA. The excellent manner in which these investigations were carried out is a highlight of this period for BFRL and an example of the ability of this laboratory to marshal expertise, both from in-house and from outside consultants, and to manage such investigations in a fully professional manner.

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