Beta Analytic, a leading provider of radiocarbon dating services, now provides ISO/IEC 17025:2005-accredited ASTM D6866 measurements for bioplastics. The laboratory was recently awarded the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation by Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation, Inc.
Beta Analytic is the first radiocarbon dating lab in the world that meets the high-quality standards established by the International Organization for Standardization for testing and calibration laboratories.
Radiocarbon dating was first established in the early 1950s as the primary method for determining the age of archaeological artifacts. In recent years, the application of the radiocarbon dating method has widened to include the measurement of the biomass component of certain materials.
ASTM D6866 was developed in the United States as a standardized analytical method for determining the bio-based content of solid, liquid, and gaseous samples using radiocarbon analysis. Specifically, ASTM D6866 was developed at the request of the United States Department of Agriculture to satisfy legislation requiring federal agencies to give preferred procurement to manufacturers using the greatest amount of biomass in their products (per the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002).
It was quickly established that radiocarbon dating was the only viable and accurate technique to use for the determination of the biomass percentage. A working standard of radiocarbon dating for industrial use was completed in 2004 and is now cited in US Federal Law (7 CFR part 2902).
ASTM D6866 distinguishes carbon resulting from contemporary biomass-based inputs from those derived from fossil-based inputs. Biomass contains a well-characterized amount of carbon-14 that is easily differentiated from other materials such as fossil fuels that do not contain any carbon-14. Since the amount of carbon-14 in biomass is well known, a percentage of biogenic carbon can be calculated easily from the total carbon in the sample.
ASTM D6866 is a widely used method in the bioplastics industry. Braskem, a leading Brazilian petrochemical company, is one of the many bioplastics companies that use ASTM D6866 to certify the biomass percentage of their products.
ASTM D6866 only quantifies the biobased content of a sample and has no implication on the material’s biodegradability.