The overall aim of this project is to validate and standardise measurement and characterisation methods for the chemical and structural properties of graphene in powders and liquid dispersions for industrial applications. This will overcome a “what is my material?” barrier for both users and producers leading to well-characterised highly tailored graphene, graphene oxide and chemically functionalised graphene. This will maximise innovation and competitiveness of European industries across the supply chains in multiple sectors including the energy sector, photovoltaics, lithium ion batteries, flexible electronics, composites, consumer products, novel coatings, clothing, automotive and aerospace industries.


Graphene and related 2D materials are predicted to make a major impact in many technology areas, either through incremental advances via current material replacement, or via disruptive changes. However, the uptake of these materials into commercial products is hindered as industrially produced “graphene” is often incompletely or not correctly characterised by the 100+ suppliers. This is acknowledged as the single biggest issue by graphene companies, suppliers and standards bodies [e.g. ISO TC229 (nanotechnologies), BSI NTI/1 (nanotechnologies) and BSI UK-China JWG on graphene standardisation]. Issues include structural determination of the material as graphene or graphite, how many layers are present and what is the flake size distribution in different batches. Chemical determination issues include the amount of oxygen present (for graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide), impurities and functionalisation. There are no standard ways to measure these properties for the industry to take the material from the laboratory to large-scale production.
European industries require international documentary standardisation of structural and chemical methods to characterise graphene validated via pre-normative VAMAS international interlaboratory testing. This will allow end-users to compare technical datasheets of different commercially available ‘graphene’ products worldwide. This will instil confidence and allow faster innovation and increased R&D productivity, as end- users will only need to test a few materials rather than hundreds. These end users will be able to match highly tailored 2D materials to performance requirements.
Standardised characterisation procedures are also required for companies needing to comply with new nanomaterials regulations and in particular registering graphene nanoforms in the REACH register [ECHA, 2017 Appendix R.6-1] allowing reliable toxicity testing of different products on the market.

This project (19NRM04 ISO-G-SCoPe) has received funding from the EMPIR programme co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.