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Biogenic material

icon Biobasierendes Material


Methods used in archaeometry can be used to study so-called bio-based materials. The main question here is the type of the carbon source from which, for example, fuel, oil or plastic was produced – biogenic or petrochemical (from natural gas or petroleum). These products or materials can be made from petrochemical or natural sources or a mixture of them. Products are called “biogenic” if their raw materials come from natural or renewable sources, such as vegetable oils and bio-methanol. With the help of the 14C-method we can distinguish biogenic from petrochemical material and their mixtures. Pure petrochemical material has carbon due to its age (the age of the oil from which the feedstock is derived is several million years old), which does not contain 14C. Pure biogenic material has the 14C carbon signature of the corresponding year of growth of the corresponding plant. In our 14C laboratory, the biogenic content is determined according to ASTM-D 6866 and EN 16640:2017, respectively.

Sample properties

For the determination of the biogenic portion

Liquids: 0.1 ml (typically sample quantities of a few ml are sent to us)

Powder, solids: approx. 5-10 mg, depending on carbon content.

Suspensions, creamy solutions: approx 1 ml, depending on carbon content

If the material to be tested consists of a mixture of biogenic and petrochemical starting materials, it must be ensured that the sample is representative of the material to be tested. It may need to be homogenised. Ideally, the carbon content of the sample is known and can be reported to the laboratory.