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© Ultracreativ Fotolia

Strong materials for safe constructions

Steel is used to construct ships that transport goods and passengers around the world, or to build bridges that cross canals, rivers and roads. In today’s global economy, this transport infrastructure is key to international trade. It is also used to construct vessels and pipelines that hold pressurised fluids (oil, chemicals) and gases (fire extinguishers, cosmetic products). The steel used for these critical applications has to be strong and comply with high quality demands.

The JRC produces steel reference materials for the engineering industry. They are essential to check the reliability of the impact tests and evaluate the strength of steel and other metals.

Beyond the human eye

Nanotechnology is an important driver for industrial innovation and job creation. This technology relies on the special properties of nanomaterials, which have been produced with very small structural features, such as a small particle size or thin surface coatings, on a nanoscale. Nanomaterials are used in computers, sunscreens and other everyday consumer products.

Reliable production and evaluation of these nanomaterials and products are only possible when the nanostructures and the resulting special properties can be measured. Surprisingly, one often tends to forget that the nanoscale is very, very small - 1 nanometer (nm) is 1 000 000 000th of a meter - and often near or beyond the limits of many of the available measurement methods.

Therefore, the JRC is helping with the challenging task of developing, validating and standardising new or improved methods and provides benchmarks, such as reference materials, for the quality control of the measured results.