Science and Engineering


31 May 2017

Critical research is helping to prevent injury, death and massive financial loss caused by oxygen equipment fires.

In hospitals, airlines, scuba systems, space crafts and stations, and any other industry where oxygen equipment is used, there is a common fire risk due to poorly designed oxygen equipment, incorrect material selection and incorrect use or maintenance.

QUT’s Professor Ted Steinberg and his colleagues at ASTM International, one of the world’s leading standards organisations, have developed standards and tests that need to be passed in order for distributors to sell medical oxygen devices to industry. Manufacturers who want to bring new products to market can test their products to make sure the design is robust and any potential issues are identified and resolved before going to market. One important test involves rapidly compressing or slamming/impacting components with oxygen, replicating typical use but at a higher pressure.

Professor Steinberg was recently honoured with the ASTM International 2016 Charles B. Dudley Medal Award, for his work, and also for his work as author of many publications on this topic and as contributor, editor and co-editor of seven volumes of the series Flammability and Sensitivity of Materials in Oxygen-Enriched Atmospheres. The series has been acknowledged as a cornerstone of past and current work of the globally-recognised ASTM International Committee G4 on the flammability and sensitivity of materials in oxygen-enriched atmospheres, of which he leads the sub-committee on research. He has been an ASTM International member for the past 28 years and was also honoured in 2011 as ASTM International's Professor of the Year for his work in developing students' understanding of standards.

Professor Steinberg's work in this area started while working for NASA White Sands Test Facility in the USA for 12 years before moving to Australia. There he received two NASA certificates of recognition for developing pioneering microgravity combustion tests of metals and developing a model for metals combustion in oxygen. He was also recognised for his dedication, commitment to excellence, and achievements in support of the Space Shuttle Program.

Ted has been a member of the Science and Engineering Faculty at QUT since 2005. He was previously a lecturer and senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Queensland from 1993 to 2005, and an adjunct professor at New Mexico State University and the Combustions Research Centre at University of Colorado at Boulder and has also worked for the Sandia National Labs and Lockheed Corp., and as a senior engineering specialist for the NASA White Sands Test Facility.

More about ASTM International

Over 12,000 ASTM standards operate globally and improve the lives of millions every day. Combined with innovative business services, they enhance performance and help everyone have confidence in the things they buy and use. For more information, visit the ASTM International website.


Professor Ted Steinberg.


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