ISO Standards for Nanomaterials Published

It seems as soon as nanomaterials were commercialized there have been efforts to establish standards for classifying them.

The ISO has been working on this issue for some time, and last year we even received updates on the progress of the working group.

The organization has recently announced its publication of a new technical report, ISO/TR 11360 Nanotechnologies – Methodology for the classification and categorization of nanomaterials, which according to the ISO, “offer[s] a comprehensive, globally harmonized methodology for classifying nanomaterials.”

The backbone of the new ISO system for classifying nanomaterials is something they are terming the “nano-tree”. As one might expect, the relationships between nanomaterials are laid out in a logical pattern like the branching out of a tree.

“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”.

Whether this type of standardization constitutes the removal of a key obstacle in the further development and commercialization of nanotechnology remains to be seen. But as they say, it can’t hurt.

It seems that efforts are ongoing to eliminate obstacles from the further commercialization of nanomaterials including this ISO report to the launching of a commodities exchange.

As fine as this no doubt is for the multi-national chemical companies who are selling and sometimes buying the bulk of these materials, it does seem odd that companies that are trying to use these materials to enable some commercial product seem to be allowed to languish into a slow, painful death.

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Nanoclast

IEEE Spectrum’s nanotechnology blog, featuring news and analysis about the development, applications, and future of science and technology at the nanoscale.

 
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Dexter Johnson
Madrid, Spain
 
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Associate Editor, IEEE Spectrum
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