The REACH annexes have recently been updated with specific data requirements needed for nanomaterials (Regulation (EC) 1881/2018). As of the 1st January 2020 the regulation is now in full force. However, the novel properties of nanoforms leads to novel problems with regard to testing. Therefore, many standard tests may not be applicable. Further, traditional cut-offs to screen (e.g. bioaccumulation) and inform intelligent testing strategies may no longer apply. Thus, testing strategies may become less streamlined leading to greater cost. Moreover, standard processes for assessment and specific release factors do not exist which may restrict production or use. We briefly look at missing tools and rules in comparison to conventional organic chemicals and how these can be addressed for REACH compliance.
Nanocarbon materials, such as carbon nanotubes and graphenes, have attracted enormous interest due to their remarkable intrinsic properties and broad range of potential applications. The ability to tailor the surface chemistry of nanocarbons is of crucial importance to ease nanocarbon processing and enable integration into existing and new technologies. We explore a new versatile thermo-chemical surface treatment to introduce a wide variety of chemical functional groups onto the nanocarbon surface whilst maintaining the excellent structural properties of the untreated materials. These thermochemical surface treatments are extremely versatile and solvent-free, greatly simplifying work-up and improving scalability. The effect of the surface treatments is characterised in terms of nanocarbon structure (electron microscopy, Raman), surface chemistry (XPS) and surface energetics (inverse gas chromatography).
Nanomaterials have evolved over the last decade to shape regulatory changes worldwide, and, with constant innovation in materials and processes, a new king is in town, Advanced Materials. Increasingly, policy makers, public authorities and funding agencies refer to advanced materials, with the European Commission moving away from reference to nanomaterials and into a focus on advanced materials in the upcoming Horizon Europe. We take a look at what exactly Advanced Materials are, whether they are a ‘thing’ at all and how actors such as the OECD and regulatory agencies are addressing the new kid in town. We also provide a short introduction to the nanomaterials sector and how nanomaterials have been used to add functionality in coatings and surfaces, with some examples from NIA’s industrial members. Overcoming some of the challenges to bringing new nanomaterials to market will also be addressed and some examples given as to how these have been overcome.