Scientists from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) have worked with the NanoDefine project to develop a categorisation scheme that matches material properties with the capabilities of techniques for particle size measurement.

If more than half of the particles of a material are smaller than 100nm, the material is a nanomaterial according to the EC’s nanomaterial definition, and as such, they are subject to particular regulatory provisions, eg safety assessment, authorisation or product labelling.

The new material categorisation scheme matches the experimental capabilities of particle measurement techniques with the particle properties that are most important for a determination of their size. Thus it:

  • allows selecting the most appropriate size determination technique for every type of material considered

  • enables proper identification of nanomaterials

  • has the potential to be accepted by regulators, industries and consumers alike.

The scheme is described in A Technique-driven Materials Categorisation Scheme to Support Regulatory Identification of Nanomaterials and takes into account the type of material (monotype or multiple types of particles, or article/formulation), chemical composition, number of small dimensions and shape, expected size range, trade form and dispersibility, stability under testing conditions and other specific properties.

Last reviewed 6 May 2019