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Innovative materials and new production processes: Safety in the life cycle and industrial value added (InnoMatLife)


Funding programme / funding institution: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

Grant number: 03XP0216

Project homepage:

Project description:

In the last 20 years nanosafety research has intensely investigated possible adverse effects of nanomaterials and their mitigation. The focus was on nanomaterials composed of single substances with narrow size distribution and mainly spheroidal geometry such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide with some additional research on carbon nanotubes and graphene.

However, many more material variants can be found on the market already. Often hybrid materials are used, which are composed of two or more chemical substances. Many of the industrially used materials are polydisperse, meaning that they contain particles in a broad size distribution including sizes beyond the nanoscale. Moreover, in many industrial applications material systems are applied, which change their structure during production or application such as in additive manufacturing. Currently, it remains unclear to which extent the findings of nanosafety research can be applied to these more complex material types.

The overarching aim of the InnoMat.Life project is the establishment of criteria and similarity concepts that allow for a grouping based on hazard or risk profiles of those innovative and/or more complex material types. InnoMat.Life focuses on three material classes:

  1. polydisperse materials for industrial applications such as metals or polymer powders for additive manufacturing or 3D printing,
  2. materials with other and potentially critical morphologies such as rods, plates or fibres and
  3. hybrid materials such as mixed organic and inorganic structures.

The project addresses exposure and hazards for human and the environment and also considers the whole life cycle of these complex materials from synthesis to disposal.

To achieve these goals the project combines expertise from academia, competent authorities and industry. The results will be presented and discussed in national and international panels and committees to ensure a regulatory applicability of the outcomes from the beginning. The knowledge obtained in the project will support the faster development of safe innovative material systems and allow for timely assessment of possible risks.

Project partners:

  • Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA)
  • Institut für Energie- und Umwelttechnik e.V.
  • Fraunhofer - Institut für Molekularbiologie und Angewandte Oekologie
  • Helmholtz Zentrum für Umweltforschung
  • IBE R&D gGmbH
  • Zoz GmbH
  • FKM Sintertechnik GmbH (FKM)
  • 3Faktur GmbH




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