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100 years of BAM reference materials


If someone orders crispbread from the webshop of BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, they are not necessarily hungry but are looking for a reference material for acrylamide. The reason is that poorly controlled baking processes may lead to the formation of acrylamide, a substance hazardous to health. Thus instruments used for the quality control of bakeries need well defined samples for adjustment. Crispbread is just one of many reference materials offered by BAM since 1912. And to celebrate this, BAM will be organising the "100 years of BAM reference materials" symposium on 15th November 2012 and has invited renowned speakers from Germany and abroad to speak about the need for reference materials.

It all started in 1912 when the Royal Materials Testing Institute in Berlin-Lichterfelde West, one of BAM's parent institutions, offered the first reference material (RM). Back then, it was simply normal steel samples for carbon analysis. Following this success, the range was rapidly expanded over subsequent years. Metallic RMs still represent a significant proportion of the business, but BAM also offers reference organisms such as termites. BAM is the only producer of elastomeric RMs for abrasion tests and they have been manufactured here for over 50 years for tests such as determining road surface roughness. The reason being that road surfaces must exhibit sufficient grip. Since 2010, BAM also has had a modern pilot plant for elastomers.

RMs are also required and are being offered by BAM for health and environmental purposes e.g. if electronic waste is recycled, it is necessary to ensure that the recovered materials do not contain harmful substances. The same goes for plastic toys.

RMs are primarily produced to meet industry's need with the highest possible accuracy depending on the actual task. Accredited and certified laboratories are even obliged to use RMs so that their work is based on internationally recognised standards and regulations right from the starting materials. BAM's function as a departmental research institute within the authority of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) also ensures that RMs are developed independently. BAM is involved in numerous national and international bodies not only in development but also in the dissemination and documentation of RMs.

RMs are indispensable when it comes to ensuring the accuracy and reliability of test results. Incorrect results can lead to serious and often avoidable costs for industry and government, therefore BAM provides the highest-quality RMs for its customers from industry, government and research.

Source: Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)