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Gratomic to Launch New Graphene Ultra Efficient Tires

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, January 24, 2019
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2019

Gratomic Inc. a vertically integrated graphite to graphenes, advanced materials company is pleased to announce the development of Gratomic's new Graphene Ultra Fuel Efficient Tires (GUET) with certification and terrain testing targeted for completion in Q3, 2019.

"Purely from a demand perspective, we have been pulled into a market which represents a very large opportunity for Gratomic. Simply put, our customers want what we have; high quality graphene. Not only are Hybrid Graphene enhanced tires fuel efficient, but they can also demonstrate better handling and longer life" commented Gratomic's Chairman and Co-CEO Sheldon Inwentash. "The GUET tire market represents a very large vertical for Gratomic which the Company will be vigorously pursuing in 2019, and beyond."

Gratomic recognizes the automotive tire market is large and is expected to grow to 2.5 billion tires by 2022. Gratomic looks to penetrate and disrupt the traditional means of tire production by providing graphene enabled GUET tires. To date, the global tire market has recognized that employing graphenes within tire treads, walls and the inner linings can make tires lighter, provide better grip and reduce rolling resistance to an extent that is not possible with existing tire compounds. On average, this would require 20 to 25 grams of graphene per tire. However, for the Industry, specification consistency and scaleability of supply have been limiting factors and to date have been the biggest constraints in commercializing Graphene.

Attributed to the right combination of geology at the mine and our processing partner, Gratomic strongly believes it can satisfy the supply demand of quality graphenes required for what the Company believes is the growing market demand for a new age economy tire. Gratomic is confident in its ability to deliver consistent quality and quantities of Graphenes to end users.

Gratomic has been able to achieve this through a unique collaboration agreement with its development partner Perpetuus Carbon Technologies who currently supplies substantial quantities of surface modified graphenes on a monthly basis to the tire industry through its Patented Plasma Process.

Ian Walters Director - Perpetuus Carbon Technologies Limited stated:

"Perpetuus' investigative analysis and characterization has concluded that the Graphenes derived from the Gratomic mine are highly friable, more so than any other graphite tested for purpose by the Perpetuus Labs. The liberated graphenes when functionalized have demonstrated excellent processability. Initial application in a host of end uses has demonstrated excellent suitability for a range of products. Most noteworthy are the excellent results generated when the Hybrid Graphenes are included in elastomers for tire construction. Perpetuus looks forward to working with Gratomic to launch probably the first range of Graphene enabled ultra fuel efficient tires."

Employing its dedicated facility for the patented Perpetuus plasma method Gratomic post plasma processing produces graphenes (less than 10 layers) of a high purity (CK 99.10%) derived from its Graphite Mine in Namibia.

Tags:  Automotive tyres  Graphene  Gratomic  Perpetuus  Tires 

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Graphene Technology to Deice Aircraft Enters $1.30 Billion Deicing Market, Time Saving, More Efficient & Less Toxic

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mr. Tom Donaldson, President, Signet International Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Signet Graphene Technologies, Inc. (SGT), announced recently that the company has executed a contract with Florida International University (FIU) to further the development and commercialization of a new deicing technology enhanced by graphene, the revolutionary carbon-based nanotechnology.

Adhesion of ice to the surfaces of aircraft in inclement weather severely compromises aircraft aerodynamic performance. Time-consuming airport deicing operations are performed for safety, causing extensive flight delays for travelers and a heavy financial burden for the airline industry. Airport Lifestyle magazine notes that the average cost of deicing a passenger aircraft is over $7,000 per coating.

A team of engineers at Florida International University headed up by Professor Arvind Agarwal, PhD, Chair of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and his team in Plasma Forming Laboratory: Ms Jenniffer Bustillos, Dr. Cheng Zhang and Dr. Benjamin Boesl have developed a graphene foam−polymer composite with superior deicing efficiency and strength. A patent for the technology will be issued on Jan. 22, 2019.

The graphene-foam polymer composite provides lightweight coatings and free-standing components with heating abilities, with exceptional thermal stability. The graphene reinforcement also increases the tensile strength of the polymer coating on the aircraft and reduces the impact of nasty toxic chemical runoff seeping into the ground and water.

The patent application entitled, “Three Dimensional Graphene Foam Reinforced Composite Coating & Deicing Systems Therefrom,” was a result of research conducted by a grant from the U.S. Army Research Office. Signet Graphene Technologies, Inc., intends to further develop the technology and make it ready for mass production. This invention is expected to have a major impact on the aircraft deicing market, which, according to Opus Materials Technologies, the U.S. spends over $1.30 billion in deicing fluids alone.

“This contract marks the first of an exciting ongoing relationship with FIU,” says Donaldson. “This invention is the solution to a very practical problem in air transportation. Critically low temperature conditions are the reasons delays are imminent, costing the airlines and travelers time and money. Although our focus is on time and safety in the airline industry, we are discovering an abundance of uses for this technology. In fact, we are exploring applied applications in solving icing conditions from icy steps; turbine blades and their mechanics, helicopter rotor blades; even private home uses and other subzero problems.”

“It is a pleasure to be associated with FIU,” says Ernest Letiziano, CEO, SIGN. “We were looking for applied use of graphene that can be made available to the public quickly; this invention is the answer to efficiency and toxic waste. The Army Grant technology has been achieved; we will take it from here.”

Tags:  Florida International University  Graphene  Signet Graphene Technologies 

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The ‘Holey graphene’ membrane has been elected ‘Molecule of the year 2018’ by the C&EN journal

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Readers of the journal of the American Chemical Society have elected this graphene membrane with pores controlled at the atomic scale as the best molecule of 2018. This structure was presented in Science in a joint article by researchers from the ICN2, the CiQUS and the DIPC.

The porous graphene membrane synthesized by researchers from the Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2, a center of BIST and CSIC), the Centro Singular de Investigación en Química Biolóxica e Materiais Moleculares (CiQUS) and The Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC) has been elected as the molecule of the year by the readers of C&EN magazine of the American Chemical Society with 58% of the votes among 8 international candidates.

Science magazine published this milestone in April in a work directed by the ICN2 Group Leader ICREA Prof. Aitor Mugarza and CiQUS IP Dr. Diego Peña. The article explained the potential of this precious material for applications in electronics, filters and sensors. The results of this study, whose first author is Dr. César Moreno from the ICN2, conducted with the molecule synthesized at CiQUS by Dr. Manuel Vilas Varela made possible the application for a patent.

The presence of pores in graphene pores whose size, shape and density can be tuned with atomic precision at the nanoscale can modify its basic structure and make it suitable as a selective filter for extremely small substances, from greenhouse gases to salt, to biomolecules. In addition, graphene becomes a semiconductor when the space between pores is reduced to a few atoms, opening the door for its use in electronic applications, where it could be used to replace the bulkier, more rigid silicon components used today.

Applied in conjunction, these two properties are predicted to allow the development of combined filter and sensor devices which will not only sort for specific molecules, but will alternatively block or monitor their passage though the nanopores using an electric field.

The resulting graphene exhibits electrical properties akin to those of silicon which can also act as a highly-selective molecular sieve. Applied in conjunction, these two properties are predicted to allow the development of combined filter and sensor devices which will not only sort for specific molecules, but will alternatively block or monitor their passage though the nanopores using an electric field.

Tags:  Graphene 

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Graphene hits the right note at high frequencies

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Graphene holds the potential to deliver a new generation of ultrafast electronic devices. Current silicon technology can achieve clock rates – a measure of how fast devices can switch – of several hundred gigahertz (GHz). Graphene could achieve clock rates up to a thousand times faster, propelling electronics into the terahertz (THz) range. But, until now, graphene’s ability to convert oscillating electromagnetic signals into higher frequency modes has been just a theoretical prediction.


Now researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum DresdenRossendorf (HZDR) and University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), in collaboration with the director of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) Mischa Bonn and other researchers, have shown that graphene can covert high frequency gigahertz signals into the terahertz range [Hafez et al., Nature (2018)].

“We have been able to provide the first direct proof of frequency multiplication from gigahertz to terahertz in a graphene monolayer and to generate electronic signals in the terahertz range with remarkable efficiency,” explain Michael Gensch of HZDR and Dmitry Turchinovich of UDE.

Using the novel superconducting accelerator TELBE terahertz radiation source at HZDR’s ELBE Center for High-Power Radiation Sources, the researchers bombarded chemical vapor deposition (CVD)-produced graphene with electromagnetic pulses in the frequency range 300–680 GHz. As previous theoretical calculations have predicted, the results show that graphene is able to convert these pulses into signals with three, five, or seven times the initial frequency, reaching the terahertz range.

“We were not only able to demonstrate a long-predicted effect in graphene experimentally for the first time, but also to understand it quantitatively at the same time,” points out Turchinovich.

By doping the graphene, the researchers created a high proportion of free electrons or a so-called Fermi liquid. When an external oscillating field excites these free electrons, rather like a normal liquid, they heat up and share their energy with surrounding electrons. The hot electrons form a vapor-like state, just like an evaporating liquid. When the hot Fermi vapor phase cools, it returns to its liquid form extremely quickly. The transition back and forth between these vapor and liquid phases in graphene induces a corresponding change in its conductivity. This very rapid oscillation in conductivity drives the frequency multiplication effect.

“In theory, [this] should allow clock rates up to a thousand times faster than today’s silicon-based electronics,” say Gensch and Turchinovich.

The conversion efficiency of graphene is at least 7–18 orders of magnitude more efficient than other electronic materials, the researchers point out. Since the effect has been demonstrated with mass-produced CVD graphene, they believe there are no real obstacles to overcome other than the engineering challenge of integrating graphene into circuits.

“Our discovery is groundbreaking,” says Bonn. “We have demonstrated that carbon-based electronics can operate extremely efficiently at ultrafast rates. Ultrafast hybrid components made of graphene and traditional semiconductors are also now conceivable.”

Nathalie Vermeulen, professor in the Brussels Photonics group (B-PHOT) at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium, agrees that the work is a major breakthrough.

“The nonlinear-optical physics of graphene is an insufficiently understood field, with experimental results often differing from theoretical predictions,” she says. “These new insights, however, shine new light on the nonlinear-optical behavior of graphene in the terahertz regime.”

The researchers’ experimental findings are clearly supported by corresponding theory, Vermeulen adds, which is very convincing.

“It is not often that major advances in fundamental scientific understanding and practical applications go hand in hand, but I believe it is the case here,” she says. “The demonstration of such efficient high-harmonic terahertz generation at room temperature is very powerful and paves the way for concrete application possibilities.”

The advance could extend the functionality of graphene transistors into high-frequency optoelectronic applications and opens up the possibility of similar behavior in other two-dimensional Dirac materials. Marc Dignam of Queen’s University in Canada is also positive about the technological innovations that the demonstration of monolayer graphene’s nonlinear response to terahertz fields could open up.

“The experiments are performed at room temperature in air and, given the relatively short scattering time, it is evident that harmonic generation will occur for relatively moderate field amplitudes, even in samples that are not particularly pristine,” he points out. “This indicates that such harmonic generation could find its way into future devices, once higher-efficiency guiding structures, such as waveguides, are employed.”

He believes that the key to the success of the work is the low-noise, multi-cycle terahertz source (TELBE) used by the researchers. However, Dignam is less convinced by the team’s theoretical explanation of graphene’s nonlinear response. No doubt these exciting results will spur further microscopic theoretical investigations examining carrier dynamics in graphene in more detail.

Tags:  CVD  Electronics  Graphene  graphene production  Terahertz 

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Bellwether Specialty Chemical Company Leads the Way in Graphene

Posted By Dexter Johnson, The Graphene Council, Monday, January 14, 2019

Back a decade-and-a-half ago when the term “nanotechnology” was first garnering interest from the investment community, the UK-based specialty chemical company Thomas Swan had already launched into producing single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) on a commercial scale. Having an established chemical company like Thomas Swan engaging commercially in nanomaterials provided a kind of imprimatur of respect that nanomaterials and nanotechnology were for real and not just some lab experiment.

Now Thomas Swan has added to their portfolio of nanomaterials by offering graphene and the two-dimensional version of the insulator boron nitride. This move, in its own way, provides another imprimatur that graphene and its commercial aspirations are for real and that the marketplace will need to take greater notice.

Thomas Swan has now joined The Graphene Council as a Corporate Member and with this new membership we took the opportunity to talk to Michael Edwards, the Business Director of Advanced materials at Thomas Swan, to get some further insight into why the company has entered the graphene business, how that business relates to their SWCNT business and how the company expects to see their graphene business as well as the market in general develop in the near future.

Q: Thomas Swan was one of the first established specialty chemical companies that got involved the manufacturing and development of nanomaterials, going back to your involvement in single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and now with graphene. What has been the reasoning that led Thomas Swan to enter these business lines so early?

A: It's always bee the vision of Harry Swan, to be honest with you. Harry is the owner of our business. He's the fourth generation of Swan. His initial involvement in the business was with carbon nanotubes, and subsequently, advanced materials.

We feel that it's an extension to the chemicals business. It provides leverage into different markets. Carbon nanotubes and subsequently graphene and now more recently, boron nitride, it is more the same; it's an extension of the business unit and a continuation of wanting to be at the forefront of technology.

Q: As mentioned, Thomas Swan has long been a producer of SWCNTs. What have you learned from your SWCNTs business that informs your graphene business? What are the differences between those two lines of business and what are their synergies?

A: What we learned from the CNT business was not to be too optimistic about forecasts. There's a lot of hype with new technology as the Gartner hype curve suggests. There are a lot of innovative start-up companies, some with a lot of early investment who are prepared to lead you down their vision of the end-goal. We've spent probably more than £10 million in investment in the two technologies over the last 10 years. We have capability for production, in volume that we can start immediately.

What we've learned is to be a little bit more patient with those new markets, understand the breadths and depths of them, and know that you have to talk to world leading manufacturers as well as innovators in order to get your overall perspective and product correct.  

The synergies are in the characterization that you need to do. You need to have a different type of person scientifically between chemistry and materials. That was a good learning. In a sense carbon nanotubes and graphene are the same, but carbon nanotubes and graphene require a different approach to the chemicals business that we have. We have had to form a dedicated team but can still call on expertise in the areas of production, QA, Logistics, etc.

We need to have a different business development outlook instead of having established account management principles and long-term customer relationships, we need to use modern-day marketing methods such as lead generation, closing leads, social media tools and pipeline management, but all the while understanding a lot more about your end customers' application as business development has always been done

Graphene and carbon nanotubes are different in the respect that whilst they are both supply chain materials, graphene is far more of an additive than carbon nanotubes appears to be. In a sense, it's further down the food chain. You've got a diagram in the Graphene Council Bulk Graphene Report, which I use extensively, which shows the various different types of graphene.

Graphene tends to be a lot more difficult and it's more of an additive. You're getting far less benefit in graphene than you appear to be getting in carbon nanotubes unless you go to the right-hand side of that form and you reach what I call utopia, which is trying to meet that pristine, graphene defect-free perfect product.

Q: Could you give a bit more background on the type of graphene you're producing? The manufacturing process you employ, the markets you target for your graphene products?

A: We have an exclusive licensee for Trinity College Dublin's liquid-phase exfoliation, high-shear method. We manufacture using liquid phase exfoliation, but we have extended that to our own patents using homogenizers, which have a slightly different method of liquid-phase exfoliation.

We have a version of the technology in which we're up to tens-of-kilograms towards hundreds-of-kilograms production capacity with manufacturing capability today of few layer graphene, multilayer graphene. Using our scaled up technology adopting homogenization, we have graphene nanoplatelets with a capacity today up to about 20 tons. The beauty of this technology, and they're both patented and licensed to us, is that it's a linear scale up. We can quite readily move up to thousands of tons capability on the graphene nanoplatelets.

The areas that we're targeting are composites, lubricants, inks, coatings, and we're doing early work in battery technology. Also, since we have boron nitride, we are working hard in barrier coatings and thermal interface coatings as well. We offer both solutions in that area. With SWCNT’s we can address the semiconductor memory and battery chemistry areas also. 

Q: Thomas Swan also manufactures other two-dimensional materials, namely molybdenum disulfide (a semiconductor) and boron nitride (an insulator), correct? Are you making heterogeneous materials with these other 2D materials?

A: We haven't really done a lot of work with molybdenum disulfide. Part of that is because—this goes back to that chain of command of graphene products—that tends to be a semiconductor. You tend to need to have your business development team focused on a different market. 

The boron nitride that we're working on, as I said, fits quite neatly alongside graphene. Often we can sell our powders dispersion or masterbatches as boron nitride or graphene. It gives us the flexibility to talk to customers. That's basically the way that we're going to market.

Q: How far do you see your company moving up the value chain of 2D materials? Will the company consider making devices with the materials you are producing? Where would the company draw the line in moving up the value chain?

A: Well, the company itself is mainly a performance chemicals company, toll- manufacturing and now advanced materials company. The extent to which I think we’ll move up the value chain probably will stop at masterbatches, inks and maybe coatings,. Based on the fact that we've got a global reach with major global corporates, our preferred approach is to work with these guys’ R&D teams, and we will get put right back in our place if we try to overextend. 

We sit in the value chain, we provide good value, we have a very strong manufacturing ethos with capability for operations and distribution outlets around the globe already in place. I believe we know where we fit in our value chain and it will extend no further than what I've mentioned.

Having said that, and going back to the question about what technology we have, we have just patented a technology, which allows us to do a bottom-up process. We’ll be able to talk more about that in the next month-or-so. However, we have filed the patent and it's a process that allows us to use our current processing technology. Furthermore, it allows us to produce some forms of functionalized graphene. There will be news on this over the next couple of months in terms of each detail and our marketing strategy.

I believe, as we move up the application chain, we add more value to our customers potential. It will certainly add to our base product road map, but we always try to add more to our service to our customers by offering them an option, utilizing the strengths of our R&D team here. Potentially it's a good solution because we've already trialed this with our production technique. It's another string to our bow.

Q: What do you see for the future of graphene’s commercial interests, i.e. a reduction of the number of applications or an increase, market consolidation for both producers and buyers, etc.?

A: I think it's a rationalisation more than anything. I think there will be a commodity graphene area, which is looking at areas such as tyres and carbon black in that space as well as asphalt/concrete where you'll really need to get high volume producers who are capable of getting the price down significantly.

There will also be that niche middle ground where we will palce ourselves, adding value to a customer’s product, trying to get 10% to 20% improvement on one or two parameters of that product to give them access to the market, and therefore you'll have be influential in their overall value proposition.

It's that high-end electronics defect-limited, single-sheet graphene which is going into the electronics field. To some extent, that's also where our single-wall carbon nanotubes may end up is in that electronics field where you're adding some value. Maybe even in batteries. That will get a little bit smarter. I believe therefore there are three distinct categories and the definition of those various graphene subsets probably help in that definition.

We won't be a huge volume manufacturer, typically hundreds to thousands tonnes annually, but our technology might well lend itself to helping our customers in their specific niches.

You can already see some of our competition linking themselves to mines, and talking about really high volume. I think there’s room for a few of these companies, but we probably won't play in that area.

Q: At this point, do you believe that a lack of standards poses a real limiting factor the commercial expansion of graphene?

A: I think the recent definition is helping clarify the situation. I think a lack of standards is always a problem, and it prevents major players doing anything more than dipping their toe in the water. I absolutely agree that  standards will help drive the market. I believe it will help define both product and applications far more clearly.

Tags:  Bulk Graphene Pricing Report  Graphene  Michael Edwards  SWCNT  Thomas Swan 

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UVA researchers devise method for converting retired Li-ion anodes to graphene and GO

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Saturday, December 29, 2018

Researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA) have devised a process for converting retired Li-ion battery anodes to graphene and graphene oxide (GO). A paper on the work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.

Schematic illustration of the proposed smart fabrication of graphene and graphene oxide from end-of-life batteries. Zhang et al.

… accompanying the booming expansion of the Li-ion battery market, a tremendous amount of batteries retire every year and most of them are disposed of in landfills, which not only causes severe waste of precious sources but also induces hazardous soil contamination due to the plastic components and toxic electrolytes. So far, only 1% of end-of-life Li-ion batteries have been recycled. Apparently, it is an urgent necessity to develop effective battery recycling techniques. 

… A rational strategy to simultaneously solve the environmental issues from waste batteries and graphite mining is to fabricate graphene directly from end-of-life battery anodes.

 

… Here, graphite powders from end-of-life Li-ion battery anodes were used to fabricate graphene.

—Zhang et al.

Graphite powders collected from end-of-life Li-ion batteries exhibited irregular expansion because of the lithium-ion intercalation and deintercalation in the anode graphite during battery charge/discharge. 

Such lattice expansion of graphite can be considered as a prefabrication of graphene because it weakened the van der Waals bonds and facilitated the exfoliation. 

—Zhang et al.

 

This “prefabrication” process facilitates both chemical and physical exfoliations of the graphite. Comparing with the graphene oxide derived from pristine, untreated graphite, the graphene oxide from anode graphite exhibited excellent homogeneity and electrochemical properties. 

The lithiation aided pre-expansion enabled 4 times enhancement of graphene productivity by shear mixing, the researchers found. 

The graphene fabrication was seamlessly inserted into the currently used battery recycling streamline in which acid treatment was found to further swell the graphite lattice, pushing up the graphene productivity to 83.7% (10 times higher than that of pristine graphite powders).

Tags:  Batteries  Graphene  graphene oxide  Li-ion  Li-ion batteries  UVA 

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Applied Graphene Materials creates graphene-enhanced anti-corrosion paint primer.

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Thursday, December 27, 2018

Applied Graphene Materials, originally spun out of Durham University and now based in Redcar, is creating a new range of graphene-enhanced anti-corrosion aerosols for James Briggs.

AGM say the completion of its first production batch is a "significant milestone" and they now plan to work towards a full product launch.

Based at the Wilton Centre, near Redcar, AGM makes powdered graphene, with the substance hailed by some experts as being capable of conducting electricity a million times better than copper, despite being as thin as human hair.

The business has developed a form of graphene it says can deliver a six-fold improvement in barrier and anti-corrosion properties, with James Briggs expected to use the product in primers to offer greater protection from weathering.

Bosses claim testing had demonstrated "repeated improvements in anti-corrosion performance".

Bryan Dobson, chairman of Applied Graphene Materials, said: "The Board continues to focus on the commercialisation of its products and proprietary technologies via its numerous active engagements and has made good progress in recent months.

"I am pleased to report that we have recently achieved a key milestone, having fulfilled the scale-up production purchase order from James Briggs Ltd in preparation for full product launch.

"JBL has successfully completed its first production batch which is a significant milestone for commercial realisation. Extensive testing has demonstrated repeated and outstanding improvements in anti-corrosion performance for JBL’s automotive aerosol primer. JBL plans to launch their new range of graphene enhanced anti-corrosion aerosols under their Hycote brand."

Mr Dobson als said the firm was pleased to participate in the opening of the UK’s Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) in Manchester last week.

"Meeting with multiple participants, the opportunities for graphene technology remain buoyant," he said.

"Finding practical application solutions for the challenges surrounding the exploitation of graphene nanoplatelet technology is the key focus of AGM’s strategy for commercial progress.

"We look forward to working closely with GEIC in the months ahead in the further development of world-class application solutions."

James Briggs was founded almost two centuries ago and they have the capacity to distribute up to 150 million aerosols. 

Tags:  Applied Graphene Materials  coatings  Corrosion  graphene  Hycote  James Briggs  Paint 

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Novel Production Technique Offers Start-up New Approach to Markets

Posted By Dexter Johnson, The Graphene Council, Thursday, December 20, 2018

California-based NTherma is leveraging a proprietary graphene production method based on the unzipping of multiwalled carbon nanotubes into graphene nanoplatelets or nanoribbons.

The backgrounds of NTherma’s co-founders Cattien V. Nguyen, President & CEO, and Thuy Ngo, VP Business Developments & Investor Relations, cover both the science of graphene as well as its business development. Nguyen’s background contains some of the heavy hitters in nanomaterials research over the last 20 years: IBM Almaden Research Center and Stanford University.

With their manufacturing process offering a high degree of customization, NTherma is targeting applications that exploit this inherent flexibility that other manufacturing techniques can’t so easily deliver on.

As a new Corporate Member of The Graphene Council, we got the opportunity to ask them about how they are approaching the market with their novel manufacturing technique, some of the challenges they are facing and how they plan to overcome them.

 Q: Could you provide us more details about your method for producing graphene? It appears from your website that it may be a bottom-up approach. Is it a CVD-enabled process or direct chemical synthesis? And what kind of graphene does it produce?

Our graphene production method is different from the two current production processes.  We don't produce graphene by CVD of single layer directly on a metal substrate and we don't produce graphene by exfoliating graphite.  Both of these production methods have a number of tradeoffs including cost, purity, and control of structural parameters.

NTherma's unique approach to the production of graphene starts with our patent-pending method of producing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that have high purity and high degree control of lengths and diameters, and most importantly a much lower production cost.  NTherma's graphene is then derived by the chemical conversion of high quality CNTs. 

Depending on the degree of chemical oxidation process, the produced graphene can be nanoplatelets or nanoribbons, or a combination of the two types.  Our ability to control the CNT length and their high purity together translates to high quality graphene at a much lower cost.  Of particularly importance is the availability of graphene nanoribbons at a large scale with controlled length, high purity, and much lower cost. This will open up a number of applications not currently feasible with commercially available graphene.

Could you let us know what applications you are targeting for your graphene? And can you tell us a bit about how you came to target these applications?

We are currently focusing on the following applications:

1.  Graphene for Oil Additives:  These reduce engine friction, improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions.  We differentiate our graphene as an oil additive in that our graphene forms a stable dispersion in oil with a demonstrated shelf life of greater than 12 months.

2.  Coatings:  There are many coating applications employing graphene and currently we are working with a few partners to integrate our graphene products.  We are also focusing on applications such as touchscreen and display as well as smart windows that other graphene materials have not been able to effectively address. 

3.  Lithium-ion (Li-ion) Batteries:  Preliminary test results are positive.  We're looking for partners to continue developing and testing the process. 

Because of our unique customization ability, we can alter length, layers and uniformity of our graphene per customers' requests.  Realizing that our high quality and consistent materials can unlock previous bottlenecks that other graphene products couldn't resolve, we chose these applications in the order provided as we see these applications and markets having the highest potential and where our technology will have the highest impact.

You are also producing multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). How do you see this fitting with your graphene production?

We produce MWCNTs for several other applications such as thermal management and also carbon nanotube yarns in development with a commercial partner. 

We also produce our graphene by the chemical conversion of MWNTs.

Is your strategy to remain a graphene and MWCNT producer, or do you see yourself moving further up the value chain to make devices from these materials?

We will focus on scaling up the production of high quality MWCNTs and graphene for the near future.  At the same time, we are developing, or have plans to develop, other applications and markets by ourselves or with partners in order to add more value to our business by strategically positioning our unique technology in a variety of verticals.

What do you see as the greatest challenge for your business in making an impact the commercialization of graphene, i.e. customer education, lack of standards, etc.? And what do you believe can be done to overcome these challenges?

The greatest challenges as a business for us have been our efforts to work with the end users and to understand as well as to educate the potential customers of our unique graphene products for any particular applications and product development processes.  Not all graphene products are the same in their purity, structural parameters such as size and number of layers, and cost.  These facts have to be made known to the end users and have to match with the end user's specific application.

Additionally, we also have to overcome clients' negative experiences with using other producers' inconsistent quality products.  We have to resolve these issues by continuing to work closely with our potential customers and partners by helping them to understand the materials and also optimizing and testing products for specific applications ourselves to provide clients with testing procedures and data (both in a lab environment and in real life).

Tags:  carbon nanotubes  coatings  CVD  Li-ion batteries  lubricants 

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The Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) opens to accelerate the commercialization of graphene materials

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Friday, December 14, 2018

 

 

The Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) is a £60 million facility that specialises in the development and scale-up of graphene and other 2D materials for industrial purposes.

 

As the home of industry-led innovation with graphene and 2D materials at the University of Manchester, work at the GEIC is focused around creating, testing and optimisining new concepts for delivering products to market as well as the processes needed to scale up production and build and maintain a supply chain.

 

Working with the National Graphene Institute, the GEIC complements their research with work in six key areas of focus:

  • Composites
  • Energy
  • Membranes
  • Inks, formulations and coatings
  • Graphene production and pilot facility
  • Measurements and characterisation 

Why is this important?

 

The GEIC facility makes industry standard equipment available for rapid prototyping and testing, allowing companies (especially those that do not have multi-million dollar R&D facilities) to develop cutting edge graphene enhanced products with less risk and on an accelerated schedule. 

 

Equally important, the GEIC facility is housed on the Univeristy of Manchester's campus, providing easy access to the world's leading graphene research team of PhD's and experts. 

 

Working with The Graphene Council and the GEIC

 

The Graphene Council is an Affiliate Member of the GEIC and has UK based colleagues that can help you take your graphene innovation ideas from concept to prototype on an accelerated pace. Getting to market faster saves you time and money while providing a competitive advantage.

 

Using our extensive knowledge and graphene market insights, we can help you to craft a graphene innovation strategy. The Graphene Council can then help you realize this strategy through the use of development facilities, like the GEIC, and by leveraging our close relationships with the leading graphene producers around the world. 

 

Contact Us

 

If you would like help, whether it is to find the right graphene material supplier or support to bring your graphene innovation to life, contact us here by defining your requirement: http://bit.ly/GrapheneSolution

 

About The Graphene Council - We are the largest community in the world for graphene professionals that includes graphene producers, academics, standards developers, users and application developers. 

Tags:    Composites    GEIC    Graphene    Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre    Innovation    University of Manchester    UoM  Commercialization 

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Talga graphene boosts composite conductivity and saves weight in lightning strike protection

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Sunday, December 9, 2018

Australian advanced materials technology company, Talga Resources Ltd (“Talga” or “the Company”)(ASX: TLG), has achieved outstanding conductivity results from Talphene®-enhanced epoxy composite trials undertaken at TWI in the UK.

Carbon fibre reinforced polymer (“CFRP”) panels were constructed using a dispersion of Talga graphene (Talphene®) in the epoxy based resin of the composite and subjected to a range of conductivity tests pertinent to aircraft applications.

Results showed the Talphene® panel provided similar lightning strike protection as copper mesh panels currently used in composite aircraft but saved 75% of the weight of the copper (Figs 1,2 and Table 1). Further results demonstrating Talphene®’s significant conductivity included up to 500% increase in dielectric constant, 100% increase in resin thermal conductivity as well as spot temperatures well over 100 degrees celsius in anti-icing trials (Fig 3). As CFRP resins are normally non-conductive, these results are highly positive.

The ability to improve the weight, electrical and thermal conductivity of CFRP composites has significant benefits for applications such as lightning strike protection and wing anti-icing on aircraft, both of which currently use heavy copper mesh. The same technology would also be of benefit to wind turbine blades that require manual or chemical de-icing in winter (Fig 4).

Figure 1 Managing Director, Mark Thompson and Chief Technology Officer Dr Siva Bohm showing some of the CFRP test panels after lightning strike tests (Talphene® panel on right in both photos).
Note the rear of the Talphene® panel (far right) shows no exit puncture. The copper mesh panel shows damage from further testing but would also otherwise show no puncture.

Talga Managing Director, Mr Mark Thompson: “Tests show that Talphene®-enhanced conductive composites can do the same job as copper, but with less weight, easier application and therefore potentially much lower lifetime costs. These highly encouraging outcomes follow our earlier test results showing increased strength and toughness of epoxy resins and we can now move to addressing the full range of market opportunities for Talphene® products across the composites sector.”

Composite Tests

Talga graphene enhanced epoxy composite prototypes were tested at TWI, a respected material science and engineering institute near Cambridge, UK, and Cobham Technical Services under certified aerospace standard laboratory conditions.

The prototype formulation was prepared using Talphene® produced from the Company’s Vittangi graphite deposit in Sweden and dispersed using a proprietary method developed by Talga Technologies Limited in the UK.

Figure 2 CFRP is used throughout the body of many modern aircraft. Copyright © Boeing

The program assessed epoxies from Hexcel, 3M, Bitrez and Huntsman with which to disperse the Talphene® and construct the CFRP samples to be tested.

Tests were conducted on 600mm x 600mm, three-ply CFRP panel samples measuring electrical properties by dielectric constant, thermal conductivity according to ISO8301:1991 Ed1, lightning strike tests at Cobham Technical Services according to EUROCAE ED-105A to Zone 2A strike specification and anti-icing tests by Joule heating using MacGregor power supply and thermal imaging. SEM and optical microscopy confirmed dispersion of the Talphene® into the resin.

Table 1 Summary of Cobham Technical Services lightning strike test data showing similar performance of Talphene® enhanced CFRP panel to that using copper mesh.

Figure 3 Anti-icing tests of Talphene® enhanced CFRP panel using an electric current (Left) with thermal imagery showing temperature at rest (Centre) and under voltage (Right).

Composite Market

The global composite market is worth over USD$82 billion/year1 and is rapidly growing across sectors in aerospace, renewable energy and automotive markets driven by increased demand for lower weight, higher strength and multi-functionality.

By 2024, the total volume of the CFRP composite material market is predicted to be in excess of 290,000 tonnes2. Key producers include companies such as Toray, Toho Tenax, Mitsubishi, Hyosung, Cytec, Plasan, Hexcel Corp, SGL (Germany), Gurit (Switzerland) and Formosa Plastics Corporation.


Figure 4 Example of expensive and high enviro-impact chemical de-icing of wind turbine blades in northern hemisphere winter. Turning the CFRP blade into a self- powered heating element offers a better solution.

Moving Forward

Graphene enhanced composites are one of the four key sectors of Talga’s commercialisation strategy and these test results validate the Company’s focus and potential in this sector. Talga will now progress its products in the composites market using these prototype test results as the catalyst to initiate joint development and commercial agreements with global end users.

About Talga

Talga Resources Ltd is an advanced materials technology company enabling stronger, lighter and more functional products for the multi-billion dollar global coatings, battery, construction and polymer composites markets via graphene and graphite products. The company has significant advantages owing to its 100% owned unique high grade graphite deposits in Sweden and in-house processing and product technology. Joint development programs are underway with a range of international corporations.

Company website: www.talgaresources.com

For further information please contact:

Mark Thompson, Managing Director Talga Resources Ltd T: + 61 (08) 9481 6667

Stephen Hutchins, Technical Sales Director Talga Technologies Limited T: +44 (0) 1223 420416

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