Pass/Failure - The Definition of

“What do you mean, the window passes the water penetration test? It leaked water!”

This is a complaint a test engineer might get if they know the correct definition of "pass" and "fail" in the ASTM E1105 and other similar test standards. Other engineers who don’t know these definitions may fail a window that technically passes. Why is this?

When reading a test standard such as the ASTM E1105, people often skip ahead to the actual procedural instructions. In doing so, they ignore section 3 entitled, “Terminology”.  This section has a lot of sentences that begin with “definitions of…” . When a test engineer sees something like, “Definition of a test specimen”, they will often assume these are things they already know and skip over them. Unfortunately this means they’re skipping the definition of water penetration.

When it’s clear that water has infiltrated the window for some reason or another, those witnessing the test will assume that the test result is failure - whether it’s the window or the installation part of the test. But water infiltration can happen without there being water penetration.

Therefore, a thorough understanding of the test standard’s definition of water penetration is required, along with the ability to make others understand and accept it is as well. Language used in the test standard is pretty clinical. A phrase like “breaking the innermost plane of the specimen” isn’t something people want to hear when you’re trying to explain that the window passes even when it clearly let in water.

It’s one thing to be an ace engineer who knows every detail of the standards, along with methods of performing tests in perfect compliance with those standards. It’s another thing to try and explain controversial results to people unfamiliar with the standards and the test procedure. To them, virtually nothing you’re doing makes any sense.

Classroom training in ASTM is completely different from ASTM in the real world. Take our ASTM In the Real World online training course to not only wrap your head around what “breaking the inner plane” means and why it's important, but also to help others wrap their heads around it too.

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