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Global standards organization awards scholarship to materials science doctoral student


Interdisciplinary materials science doctoral student Andrew Tonigan has been awarded a $10,000 ASTM International scholarship for his graduate studies in a field where technical standards play a crucial role.

He is one of four scholarship winners. The other recipients are from the University of Alabama, McGill University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems and services.

Andrew Tonigan

Tonigan is an active member of the ASTM committee on nuclear technology and applications. He is involved in an inter-laboratory study for a new test method for that group.

“While performing nuclear reactor and radiation detection experiments as part of my undergraduate career in nuclear engineering, I quickly recognized the importance of standardized technical procedures,” Tonigan said.

He said research post at Sandia National Laboratories confirmed that complete scientific and engineering documentation is indispensable. “Standards ensure the performance of high-quality work as well as provide support for the thorough interpretation of scientific data.”

Tonigan began working with ASTM International standards in 2014 in support of two projects in Sandia’s Applied Nuclear Technologies Department. The investigation of neutron radiation damage in light emitting diodes and bipolar junction transistors led to his effort to develop a new standard test method. In 2017, a summary of this work was published in the IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science.

“The development and distribution of this test method will not only help researchers at SNL, but also many other neutron research facilities in United States and abroad. With the help of my colleagues at Sandia, we are pursuing an Inter-Laboratory Study (ILS) for the new proposed test method that will ensure it has a broad range of applicability and demonstrates the precision and bias characteristics that support its becoming an official ASTM standard test method,” Tonigan said.

Tonigan said the scholarship will help support the ILS and allow him to participate in ASTM nuclear technology committee meetings.

ASTM International is a nonprofit organization with more than 30,000 members that develops and publishes approximately 12,000 technical standards that cover the procedures for testing and classification of materials. ASTM standards are used worldwide.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
brenda.ellis@vanderbilt.edu