Salim V. Brahimi P.Eng. Ph.D., Director of Engineering & Technology at Industrial Fasteners Institute (IFI)

In a significant milestone for the fastener industry, the Industrial Fasteners Institute (IFI) recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the ASTM Committee F16 on Fasteners at a ceremony in Philadelphia. During this event, Salim Brahimi, IFI’s Director of Engineering & Technology, was honored with the prestigious Walter C. Voss Award—marking the first time a member of the F16 committee has received this accolade. The award was presented by Kathie Morgan, the ASTM Immediate Past President. We had the opportunity to speak with Salim about the ceremony and the history of the ASTM F16 committee.

FND: Congratulations, Salim! Such an honor to be recognized by the ASTM organization with the prestigious Walter C. Voss Award. Notably, a first for a member of F16 Committee. Can you tell us about your experience and why this recognition is such an honor for you?

SB: I’ve been working in the fastener industry from the start of my career, now over 35 years ago. I spent the first 13 years working for fastener manufacturers, both in Canada (Infasco) and in the US (Kamax). In 2002, I started IBECA Technologies, specializing in fastener engineering and materials research. I spent the next decade growing IBECA while simultaneously embarking on a long planned academic/research career in hydrogen embrittlement of high strength steel, with a focus on fasteners. On a part time basis, I earned my Master’s degree in 2008 and my Ph.D. in 2018, both from McGill University in Montreal.  Today I am an adjunct professor at McGill University, and co-director of the McGill Hydrogen Embrittlement Facility (MHEF), which I co-founded in 2005. In 2016, I had the great honor of joining the Industrial Fasteners Institute (IFI) as Technical Director, following in the footsteps of Charlie Wilson and Joe Greenslade, both giants in the field and mentors whom I deeply respected.

The Walter C. Voss Award is unique and outside the typical scope of ASTM awards, because it recognizes scientific contributions to knowledge and equally important, the transfer of that knowledge to engineering practices.

For research to be useful, it must have an outlet in practice. I have been able to navigate the space between research and engineering, a space that I find truly fulfilling, by being very active in standards committees for fasteners. The consensus based process at ASTM is challenging because everyone must understand what is being proposed, provide their input, and ultimately come to a point of consensus. The more critical the change, the more scrutiny it receives and the longer it takes to reach consensus. Hydrogen embrittlement anxiety provoking, and the measures to mitigate the risk of a HE failure have been controversial and inconsistent from one standard to another. Yet, it is thanks to the high threshold required to reach consensus that I was able transfer the knowledge we were gaining to the standards and practices of the fastener industry in a manner that is both effective and enduring.  

I was honored to be selected for such an award, especially as it is a recognition of the fruits of many years of labor and scientific research. The research that I began continues to this day at the MHEF facility at McGill University, which is recognized around the world for its contributions to the body on knowledge on hydrogen embrittlement.

IFI has played an important role in reaching this milestone. More specifically, Charlie Wilson and Joe Greenslade, my predecessors as IFI Technical Director, and Rob Harris, IFI’s immediate past Managing Director recognized the game changing nature of the research upon which I was proposing to embark back in 2002. They were key allies and supporters of my work.  Charlie was instrumental in securing IFI financial support in the early days when it was very hard to obtain, and Joe was instrumental in supporting my initiatives to transfer the knowledge gained to industry standards and practices.

FND: Can you tell us about the history of the ASTM F16 group that relates specifically to fasteners?

SB: To answer this question, it is important to retell the history of fastener and thread standards, which were the first industrial standards created during the industrial age. In 1941, ten years after its creation, IFI published the first edition of the Book of Fastener and Rivet Standards, effectively making IFI the keeper of industrial fastener standards. These standards were developed in collaboration with manufacturers and different industry stakeholders.

In the following years, consensus standards development organizations (SDOs) such as ASTM, ASME, SAE gained in stature by creating standards that were universally recognized in the market. This fact promoted a migration of the early fastener standards, which were predominantly dimensional product standards, to the jurisdiction of technical committees, notably ASME B1(threads), and ASME B18 (Fasteners). As the need to develop fastener material standards became apparent, ASTM Committee A01 (Steel) specifically Subcommittee A01.26, began developing standards that addressed the material, mechanical and performance requirements for fasteners.

ASTM Committee F16 on Fasteners was created in 1974 to meet the growing need for a technical committee that has a unique focus on the development of fastener material standards. Committee F16 held its first meeting as an ASTM committee in Montreal, Canada, in June 1975. The transfer of 11 standards from Subcommittee A01.26 to Committee F16 was approved on July 31, 1975, by the Committee on Standards of the ASTM Board of Directors. Most of these standards are still in use today, albeit with the benefit of 50 years of progress and many revisions.   The original standards are differentiated because their designations begin with the letter A (for Committee A01), in contrast to the standards that were created later which begin with the letter F (for Committee F16).

The new committee F16 consisted of 53 voting members, of whom 26 were classified as producers, 16 as users, and 11 as general interest.

The initial officers of the committee were:

  • Chairman, E. R. Jerome
  • Vice-Chairman, J. S. Orlando
  • Vice-Chairman, W. R. Pressler
  • Secretary, R. M. Harris
  • Assistant Secretary, Conrad Wieler

Members-At-Large of the Executive Committee were:

  • T. Wright
  • B. Belford
  • A. Brandt
  • F. Smith

FND: How does the IFI work with the ASTM to create standards for fasteners?

SB: The work of consensus standards development is central and fundamental to the mission of the Industrial Fasteners Institute. IFI is relied upon by the fastener community to act as senior steward of the standards development process, while ensuring the interests of North American fastener manufacturers are appropriately served. To perform this function, IFI technical directors and engineering staff has always been actively involved in all related standards development activities within ASTM, ASME, ISO, SAE, RCSC, USCAR and API.

FND: What do you see as the value of ASTM International standards in today’s marketplace?

SB: Members of Committee F16 past and present are experts, industry leaders and innovators. For the past 50 years they have convened, discussed, debated, collaborated, drafted, balloted, and reached consensus to develop an impressive body of fastener standards. Its 77 standards under the jurisdiction of 13 subcommittees represent the state of the art and are used to promote trade between companies and countries around the globe. Committee F16 standards serve as a technical blueprint for commerce in every sector of industry that is concerned with making, selling, and using mechanical fasteners.

FND: Would you encourage the next generation of fastener professionals to get involved in the ASTM F16 group?

SB: Absolutely! Sign up! The more the better! (See F16 Committee info below)

The journey begins by cultivating passion for the fastener industry, and passion is passed down from generation to generation, starting with the founding members of Committee F16 and the many outstanding individuals who have led by example over many years of service. Each generation must inspire, motivate, teach, and set an example for the next generation to follow in its footsteps and continue the good work.  We must remember and teach the lessons of their accomplishments, to be energetically committed to the betterment of fastener standards and to be innovative and creative to meet the evolving needs of the industry. The fact that they choose to commit their time and efforts for the advancement of Committee F16 and its standards, despite the demands of work and the priorities of family life is a testament to their professionalism.

FND: Thinking forward: Are the ASTM Fastener Committee (F16) and Additive Manufacturing Group (F42) working together to standardize the manufacturing of fasteners utilizing 3D Printing?

SB: Not yet, but I think it will not be long. The technical challenges posed by AM fasteners are many and complex.

FND: What’s happening at IFI that fastener industry professionals should know about?

SB: Great question! IFI is about to publish the 2024 edition of the IFI Book of Fastener Standards. The new book should be available by middle of June.

FND: ASTM honors Chad Larson, President at LeJeune Bolt Company with the prestigious ASTM Award of Merit, for his outstanding contributions to the development of fastener standards, presented by Bill Griese 2024 ASTM Chair of the Board.

SB: If I may: sharing the stage with my good friend Chad Larson on this important occasion of the 50th anniversary of ASTM Committee F16 was a true pleasure and honor. Chad’s commitment and dedication to achieving excellence in fastener standards are second to none. His contributions are both significant and enduring. We have been blessed to reap the benefits of his work. The Award of Merit is ASTM’s highest society award, and no one could be more deserving to receive it than Chad Larson. Congratulations!


ASTM International has a specific group that directly relates to fasteners:

ASTM International has a committee specifically focused on fasteners and related hardware is called the ASTM F16 Committee on Fasteners. This committee develops and maintains standards for fasteners, including bolts, nuts, screws, washers, rivets, and other types of hardware. The standards cover a wide range of topics, including material specifications, mechanical properties, testing methods, coatings, and corrosion resistance. The standards developed by the F16 committee are used by manufacturers, distributors, and users of fasteners to ensure that products are made to consistent and reliable specifications.

About Committee F16 on Fasteners

F16 meets twice a year, at May and November Committee Weeks, with approximately 50 members attending over three days of technical meetings. The Committee, with current membership of approximately 185, currently has jurisdiction of over 60 standards, published in the Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Volume 01.08. F16 standards consist of specifications, guides, practices and test methods for bolts, screws, nails, and other fasteners for industrial and government use.

Committee F16 on Fasteners: F16 Committee:


IFI represents North American fastener manufacturers to their suppliers, customers, the government, and the public at large to advance the competitiveness, products, and innovative technology of the IFI Member Companies in a global marketplace.

IFI is headquartered in Independence, Ohio and is led by the Managing Director and his staff. IFI’s resources include the Director of Engineering Technology, Director of Education & Training, Aerospace Division Manager, Automotive Division Manager, and Industrial Products Division Manager who are strategically located throughout the U.S. and Canada. IFI also retains a representative in Washington, DC who monitors and advocates on issues that impact the membership.

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