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Discussion about the use of the Volume Specific Surface Area (VSSA) as criteria to identify nanomaterials according to the EU definition. Part two: Experimental approach

Abstract

The first part of this study 1 was dedicated to the modelling of the influence of particle shape, porosity and particle size distribution on the volume specific surface area (VSSA) values. In this second part, experimental VSSA values are obtained for various samples from nitrogen adsorption isotherms and these values were used as a screening tool to identify and classify nanomaterials. These identification results are compared to the identification based on the 50% of particles with a size below 100 nm criterion applied to the experimental particle size distributions obtained by analysis of electron microscopy images on the same materials. It is concluded that the experimental VSSA values are able to identify nanomaterials, without false negative identification, if they have a mono-modal particle size, if the adsorption data are of good quality and if a simple, qualitative image of the particles by transmission electron microscopy is available to define their shape. The experimental conditions to get reliable adsorption data as well as the way to analyze the adsorption isotherms are described and discussed in some details. Only the external surface of the particles, obtained by a modified t-plot approach, should be considered to determine the experimental VSSA and to avoid false positive identification of nanomaterials. The availability of experimental VSSA values together with particle size distributions obtained by electron microscopy gave the opportunity to check the representativeness of the two models described in the first part of this study 1. When the particle size distribution is relatively narrow, both models are giving similar VSSA values quite comparable to the experimental ones. But when the particle size distribution is broadening or is of multi-bimodal shape, one model is leading to false positive identification of nanomaterials, while the other is leading to false negative identification of nanomaterials. The experimental VSSA approach then appears as a reliable, simple screening tool to identify nano and non-nano- materials. The modelling approach could be useful to screen to potential effects of shape, polydispersity and size to compare various possible nanoforms.

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Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 11 Apr 2017, accepted on 01 Sep 2017 and first published on 01 Sep 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR02585H
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Discussion about the use of the Volume Specific Surface Area (VSSA) as criteria to identify nanomaterials according to the EU definition. Part two: Experimental approach

    A. J. Lecloux, R. Atluri, Y. Kolen’ko and L. D. Francis, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR02585H

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