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Technical Tour: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

EST Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Bus transportation provided from the Hyatt Regency Hotel to the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Registration required.

INSPIRE attendees have a unique opportunity with this afternoon technical tour.  NIST is mostly closed to outside tour groups, but you’ll have access to 3 stops on the NIST campus! A shuttle will take you to each of the following stops for a small-group experience at:

  • National Fire Research Laboratory: NIST maintains a world class large-scale fire laboratory to conduct experiments that provide the scientific basis for the development of fire safety standards and building codes, support fire investigations and validate advanced computational fire models that are used by engineers for building design. Ongoing collaborative research on structural fire interaction, wildland-urban interface fires, upholstered furniture flammability, and fire model validation will be highlighted.
  • Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility: Both a laboratory and a house, the two-story NZERTF having four bedrooms and three bathrooms would blend in nicely in a new suburban subdivision. It was designed and built to be approximately 60 percent more energy efficient than homes built to meet the requirements of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code. During the first year of operation (July 2013 – June 2014) the house exceeded its net-zero goal of meeting all of its annual energy requirements with onsite renewable energy with enough surplus energy to power an electric car for approximately 1400 miles. Instead of paying almost $4,400 for electricity – the estimated annual bill for a comparable home in Maryland – the virtual family of four residing in the all-electric home actually exported energy to the electric grid. Since that time, the facility is being used to test a variety of equipment configurations for maintaining a comfortable indoor environment with the least energy expenditure.
  • Structural Experimental Facility: Testing facilities for applying loads to structural frames and walls to inform expected performance and provide support for codes and standards. Two examples will be presented: a concrete wall subject to degradation (alkali silica reaction or ASR) and precast beam-column connections.


The Integrating Sphere-based Weathering Device is also part of this tour stop.  In the artificial ultraviolet (UV) weathering of materials, the Sphere is a weathering device that can uniformly illuminate test specimens with a high level of irradiance, and provide mechanical loading capabilities. The Sphere can independently vary spectral irradiance, mechanical loads, temperature, and humidity provides researchers with a high level of flexibility in designing artificial weathering experiments. Smaller versions of this device utilizing similar technology are currently being developed that are intended for commercial use by materials producers and researchers.

Safety: When needed, hard hats and safety glasses are provided. Close-toed shoes are required. Long pants are recommended for visitors.

Identification Requirements:

  • All visitors 16 years of age and older are required to present an accepted form of photo I.D. and, if bringing a vehicle onto the NIST campus, their vehicle registration card.
    • Effective MAY 3, 2023, agencies can only accept a state-issued driver’s license or identification card from states that are compliant with the REAL ID Act.  See the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) site to confirm if your ID is compliant
    • NIST currently accepts other forms of federally issued identification in lieu of a state-issued driver's license, including an original passport, passport card, DOD Common Access Card (CAC), Veteran ID, Federal Agency HSPD-12 IDs, Military Dependent ID, Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC), and TSA Trusted Traveler ID. 
  • For each non-U.S. citizen visiting the NIST campus, information about country of birth, passport information, employer, etc. must be submitted and will be used to conduct a routine background check of that individual, which must be completed before they can enter the NIST campus.

NIST HQ, Gaithersburg, MD campus

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