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A Wonder Material with Incredible Potential: Inside the First U.S.-Led Project on Graphene


ISO TC 229 to Develop Graphene Framework Project

Graphene, defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms with each atom bound to three neighbors in a honeycomb structure, was discovered less than 20 years ago, and its potential keeps growing. While existing graphene ISO standards focus on terminology as well as general measurement techniques, more efforts are underway.

The U.S. is leading its first graphene project under ISO Technical Committee (TC) 229, Nanotechnologies, which is working to develop an ISO Graphene Classification Framework. The document will enable reliable, reproducible comparisons between different materials produced around the world, allowing buyers to make informed decisions when selecting graphene-related 2D materials (GR2M) from different suppliers and implementing them in the right application.

Graphene Basics

Graphene was discovered in 2004 when researchers Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov used cellophane tape to peel one-atom-thick layers of carbon from chunks of graphite, forming graphene.

Stronger than diamonds and steel, graphene is a 2D material with the potential to enhance applications across industries. The material is utilized for everything from medicine and sensors to electronics, energy storage, and water filtration, and it is used in composite structural materials, among other uses. With its exceptional electrical and thermal conductivity properties, the material continues to move from lab to market—with standardization playing a critical role in supporting graphene terminology, metrology, and related applications.

Creating an agreed-upon basis for comparing different graphene products across multiple markets can help foster greater consumer confidence in this exciting technology—and ultimately establish consistent requirements that can be adopted by industry stakeholders around the world. 

Inside the Graphene Classification Framework

The project is based on the Graphene Council’s Graphene Classification Framework, which involved a global task force of more than 100 volunteer experts including academic researchers, graphene producers, regulatory agencies, and end users. The initiative was designed to address a combination of urgent issues that threaten the commercial adoption of graphene materials on an industrial scale, impacting graphene producers in addition to users and regulators. The Graphene Council is a member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO TC 229.

The key goals of the framework are:

  • a transparent and common method of classifying and comparing all graphene-related 2D materials (GR2M) regardless of production method or feedstock material;
  • the basis for standardized material specification data sheets that contain an agreed minimum set of relevant data to make comparisons between suppliers possible;
  • the ability to translate standardized characterization methods into usable data; and
  • a framework that can be used equally by producers, users, or regulators.

“Graphene offers incredible potential for use in a variety of applications,” said Caio Lo Sardo, project leader, Mito Materials. “To ensure that the full range of possibilities related to graphene can be realized, it is imperative for stakeholders, regulators, industry leaders, and others with vested interests in speeding up progress to come together and create a unified classification framework. We believe that only through collaboration can we create truly global standards that will benefit everyone involved in this rapidly growing field. As a graphene consumer, we need to be able to rely on international standards. Graphene is out of the lab already and it can go much further.”

“The ISO Graphene Classification Framework will be a cornerstone for the wide-ranging commercialization of graphene, both in the U.S. and internationally,” said Vladimir Murashov, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and chair of the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG to ISO TC 229. “The U.S.’s leading role in the development of this framework in ISO highlights U.S. global leadership in research and applications of graphene and other advanced materials.”

Participation on the U.S. TAG to ISO TC 229 is open to all materially affected U.S. national interested parties. For more information, contact the TAG administrator, Heather Benko ([email protected]).


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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