Tag Archives: International Standards Organisation

Fake graphene

Michael Berger’s October 9, 2018 Nanowerk Spotlight article about graphene brings to light a problem, which in hindsight seems obvious, fake graphene (Note: Links have been removed),

Peter Bøggild over at DTU [Technical University of Denmark] just published an interesting opinion piece in Nature titled “The war on fake graphene”.

The piece refers to a paper published in Advanced Materials (“The Worldwide Graphene Flake Production”) that studied graphene purchased from 60 producers around the world.

The study’s [“The Worldwide Graphene Flake Production”] findings show unequivocally “that the quality of the graphene produced in the world today is rather poor, not optimal for most applications, and most companies are producing graphite microplatelets. This is possibly the main reason for the slow development of graphene applications, which usually require a customized solution in terms of graphene properties.”

A conclusion that sounds even more damming is that “our extensive studies of graphene production worldwide indicate that there is almost no high quality graphene, as defined by ISO [International Organization for Standardization], in the market yet.”

The team also points out that a large number of the samples on the market labelled as graphene are actually graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide. Furthermore, carbon content analysis shows that in many cases there is substantial contamination of the samples and a large number of companies produce material a with low carbon content. Contamination has many possible sources but most likely, it arises from the chemicals used in the processes.

Peter Bøggild’s October 8, 2018 opinion piece in Nature

Graphite is composed of layers of carbon atoms just a single atom in thickness, known as graphene sheets, to which it owes many of its remarkable properties. When the thickness of graphite flakes is reduced to just a few graphene layers, some of the material’s technologically most important characteristics are greatly enhanced — such as the total surface area per gram, and the mechanical flexibility of the individual flakes. In other words, graphene is more than just thin graphite. Unfortunately, it seems that many graphene producers either do not know or do not care about this. …

Imagine a world in which antibiotics could be sold by anybody, and were not subject to quality standards and regulations. Many people would be afraid to use them because of the potential side effects, or because they had no faith that they would work, with potentially fatal consequences. For emerging nanomaterials such as graphene, a lack of standards is creating a situation that, although not deadly, is similarly unacceptable.

It seems that the high-profile scientific discoveries, technical breakthroughs and heavy investment in graphene have created a Wild West for business opportunists: the study shows that some producers are labelling black powders that mostly contain cheap graphite as graphene, and selling them for top dollar. The problem is exacerbated because the entry barrier to becoming a graphene provider is exceptionally low — anyone can buy bulk graphite, grind it to powder and make a website to sell it on.

Nevertheless, the work [“The Worldwide Graphene Flake Production”] is a timely and ambitious example of the rigorous mindset needed to make rapid progress, not just in graphene research, but in work on any nanomaterial entering the market. To put it bluntly, there can be no quality without quality control.

Here are links to and citations for the study providing the basis for both Berger’s Spotlight article and Bøggild’s opinion piece,

The Worldwide Graphene Flake Production by Alan P. Kauling, Andressa T. Seefeldt, Diego P. Pisoni, Roshini C. Pradeep, Ricardo Bentini, Ricardo V. B. Oliveira, Konstantin S. Novoselov [emphasis mine], Antonio H. Castro Neto. Advanced Materials Volume 30, Issue 44 November 2, 2018 1803784 https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201803784

The study which includes Konstantin Novoselov, a Nobel prize winner for his and Andre Geim’s work at the University of Manchester where they first isolated graphene, is behind a paywall.

New nanotechnology standards: ISO/TS 80004-4:2011 and ISO/TS 80004-5:2011

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has released two new standards for terms and definitions. From the Nov. 23, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

ISO/TS 80004-4:2011 gives terms and definitions for materials in the field of nanotechnologies where one or more components are nanoscale regions and the materials exhibit properties attributable to the presence of those nanoscale regions. It is intended to facilitate communications between organizations and individuals in industry and those who interact with them.

ISO/TS 80004-5:2011 lists terms and definitions related to the interface between nanomaterials and biology. It is intended to facilitate communications between scientists, engineers, technologists, designers, manufacturers, regulators, NGOs, consumer organizations, members of the public and others …

ISO/TS 80004-4:2011 can be purchased for 58 Swiss Francs while ISO/TS 80004-5:2011 can be purchased for 50 Swiss Francs.

ISO nanomaterials definition

There’s a new definition from the International Standards Organization (ISO) for nanomaterials.  From the news item on Nanowerk,

ISO has therefore published a new technical report, ISO/TR 11360:2010, Nanotechnologies – Methodology for the classification and categorization of nanomaterials, offering a comprehensive, globally harmonized methodology for classifying nanomaterials.

ISO/TR 11360 introduces a system called the “nano-tree”, which places nanotechnology concepts into a logical context by indicating relationships among them as a branching out tree. The most basic and common elements are defined as the main trunk of the tree, and nanomaterials are then differentiated in terms of structure, chemical nature and other properties.

“The document provides users with a structured view of nanotechnology, and facilitates a common understanding of its concepts,” says Peter Hatto, Chair of the committee that developed the standard (ISO/TC 229). “It offers a systematic approach and a commonsensical hierarchy”.

The new definition is called: ISO/TR 11360:2010, Nanotechnologies – Methodology for the classification and categorization of nanomaterials. It will cost you 112 Swiss Francs or, roughly, $112.90 CAD.

I’m not sure what the big difference is between this definition and the one I posted about Oct. 24, 2008 but I suspect the difference lies in the classification level, i.e., the 2008 definition (ISO/TS 27687:2008 titled Nanotechnologies — Terminology and definitions for nano-objects — Nanoparticle, nanofibre and nanoplate) laid the groundwork for this more specific nanomaterials definition.

ETA Aug.21.10: Dexter Johnson at Nanoclast has posted about the new ISO definition and the impact this may have on commercialization of nanomaterials. Go here to read more.

New US nanotechnology legislation for health and safety proposed; SAFENANO reviews 2009

After finding this announcement on Azonano (or you can find it on Senator Pryor’s site here),

U.S. Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today introduced legislation to address potential health and safety risks about products that contain nanotechnology materials.

The Nanotechnology Safety Act of 2010 would establish a program within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assess the health and safety implications of nanotechnology in everyday products and develop best practices for companies who employ nanotechnology. The legislation authorizes $25 million each year from 2011 through 2015.

I went looking for a comment or news release about it on the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies website and was surprised to find nothing. In fact, I couldn’t find any commentary anwyhere in my very brief search this morning.

Meanwhile, SAFENANO (an initiative of the UK’s Institute of Occupational Medicine) has produced a review of  nanotechnology environment, health, and safety developments for 2009. They cover both developments in Europe and elsewhere. From the review,

In January, the International Standards Organisation ISO published a technical report ISO/TR 12885:2008 ” Health and safety practices in occupational settings relevant to nanotechnologies “. The report provides a general background the nanoparticle risk issues and describes in some detail current practices for risk assessment, exposure measurement and control which are appropriate for use with engineered nanoparticles. This report takes an encyclopaedic view but stops short of recommending which practices are appropriate for which materials under which circumstances, leading to disappointment for some users. This report is commercially available from ISO.
This was closely followed by a report from Canada published by Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST), in collaboration with CSST and  NanoQuébec The document ” Best Practices Guide to Synthetic Nanoparticle Risk Management, Report R599 “, covered much of the same ground as the ISO document but in less detail. This document also introduced the idea of using a “control banding” approach based on that described by Paik and recommends that this approach is used where there is insufficient information for a quantitative risk assessment.

It is a very interesting and useful review which you can read here.