The New Look of the AMRL
By Brian Johnson, AAP Program Supervisor
By now, you have probably noticed that we have launched a new website with new colors, a new logo, and cleaner navigation. It’s our freshly paved section of road on the information super-highway. Like all of our readers know, you can pave the smoothest, most beautifully marked road in the world, but if the ground underneath it isn’t stable, you’re not going to enjoy that new road for too long. That is why we are even more excited about the improvements that we have made to our website’s foundation – the data management system. Our data management system doesn’t just keep us organized; it allows us to offer a whole range of new tools for the end-user. Read More
Get to the Root of the Problem: Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Explained
By Tracy Barnhart, Quality & Information Manager
Ever get tired of those pesky dandelions in your otherwise lush yard? The weeds are the obvious problem, but have you ever thought about the underlying, or “root,” cause? That might not be so obvious. In reality, there are usually multiple “roots” to most problems, even in the construction materials testing (CMT) industry. Read More
Seven Steps for a "Perfect" On-Site Assessment
We all realize that having a perfect on-site assessment is no small accomplishment. However, there are some rather simple steps your laboratory can take to ensure that the assessment runs smoothly and relatively error-free. The staff at AMRL understands what a special event the on-site assessment is for each of our customers, and that it can be an overwhelming process. The goal of this article is to give you a few pointers on preparing for your on-site assessment. Following these steps will help you get the most out of the assessment process and ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible. Read More
Metrology Musings: Uncertainty? There’s An App For That.
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"A quantitative result without any kind of uncertainty estimate is not only useless, it is dangerous because it can be misused."
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Churchill Eisenhart, 1913-1994
My smartphone is really smart. Really. It can serve as a phone, a camera, a computer, a radio, and a global positioning system (GPS). I also can choose from over 300,000 apps to download onto my phone, all designed to make my life fun and easy. Really. Want to Facebook your friends? There’s an app for that. Need help with your taxes? There’s an app for that…oops, you're too late for that. Want to transform your phone into a baby monitor? There’s an app for that. Looking for a great example of measurement uncertainty? There’s even an app for that. Read More
Did You Know?
By Matt Bluman, Laboratory Assessor
Some tips, tricks and interesting facts to make life in the testing laboratory just a little bit easier.
Did you know?
Formerly just a quick shortcut, but now added to the standard for determining the moisture content of soil (ASTM D 2216), detecting remaining moisture in a hot sample can be done by placing a strip of paper over the material. If the strip of paper curls, the sample still contains moisture. Read More
Pycnometers, Calibrations, and Insulated Containers: A Guide to Understanding ASTM D 854, Soil Specific Gravity
By Mike Adkins, Laboratory Assessor
When planning an assessment for a laboratory that will be running ASTM D 854, many thoughts race through my mind. For example, does the technician know that there are significant differences between AASHTO T 100 and ASTM D 854? Have the calibrations been performed correctly? Or, is all of the right equipment available? ASTM D 854 can be a difficult test, and many people are not familiar with the intricacies involved with running it. In this article I will talk through the portions of the test that seem to cause the most confusion, explain reasons behind certain steps, and also offer helpful tips and suggestions. Read More
Getting the Most Out of the Proficiency Sample Program: A Guide to Our Online Features and Tools
Samples, data, ratings…oh my! It can be a challenge to keep everything straight when enrolled in the AMRL Proficiency Sample Program. If your laboratory is already registered at www.amrl.net, you know how it can help you keep track of everything PSP-related. This article will cover some of the features on our website that will make participation in the Proficiency Sample Program a bit more manageable. Read More
The Anatomy of a Liquid-in-Glass Thermometer
By Maria Knake, Program Manager for Training and Technical Services
Temperature Measurement: A Fact of Life
Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of working in the kitchen with my mother—canning tomatoes, making candy apples, and baking bread. I still remember how my mother taught me to carefully check the candy thermometer as we made the caramel coating, and how I learned to set the oven to just the right temperature so that the bread would rise and bake correctly. I never thought about it as a child, but temperature measurement played an important role in all of the cooking and baking projects that my mother and I shared. Read More