Versarien plc is pleased to announce that, following an open innovation call, multinational engineering company Rolls-Royce has selected to work with The University of Manchester's Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and its Tier 1 partner, Versarien subsidiary, 2-DTech Limited.
The initial programme of work will use the state-of-the-art chemical vapour deposition (CVD) equipment located within the GEIC. The collaboration will look to explore, understand and create technological advances surrounding the use of graphene and other 2D materials used in wiring for next-generation aerospace engine systems.
The work conducted will seek to use the unique properties of these 2D materials to reduce the weight of electrical components, improve electrical performance and also increase resistance to corrosion of components in future engine systems.
The programme aims to present potential economic benefits, through the possibility of significant cost reductions, and global environmental benefits, through the reduction of energy use and lower emissions from electrification.
Neill Ricketts , Chief Executive of Versarien commented:
"The pursuit of sustainability has become an important goal for many companies in recent years. Rolls-Royce is one of the world's leading industrial technology companies and today, the size and impact of the markets its serves makes this task more urgent than ever. Taking advantage of advanced materials such as graphene, has the potential to revolutionise these markets and add real benefit.
" The partnership with Rolls-Royce is a significant endorsement to 2-DTech's work over the years and we are delighted it has been chosen by such a renowned business and look forward to working together."
Dr Al Lambourne , Materials Specialist at Rolls - Royce, commented:
" Partnering with the GEIC and its members makes perfect sense to Rolls-Royce as we explore the opportunities and properties of a new class of 2D materials. Using the unique capabilities of 2-DTech and the GEIC we hope to address some of the challenges facing materials in the global aerospace industry , as we pioneer the electrification of future aircraft . "
James Baker, Graphene@Manchester CEO, commented:
"The GEIC is intended to act as an accelerator for graphene commercialisation, market penetration and in the creation of the material supply chain of graphene and 2D materials. It's great to see a company like Rolls-Royce partner with us and our other Tier 1 member, 2-DTech, to capitalise on our world-leading expertise and experience, along with specialist equipment, which will accelerate the product and process development and market entry."
Advanced battery anode materials and graphene additives provider Talga Resources Ltd is pleased to announce the commencement of a commercial scale trial of a Talga graphene-enhanced coating applied to a 33,000t container ship. The result is expected to be a range of environmental and economic benefits, which for marine applications includes improved corrosion resistance, decreased metallic paint loss into oceanic ecosystems and increased efficiency through lowering dry-docking cycles.
Believed to be the world’s largest single application of graphene, the 700 m2 coating of the cargo vessel’s hull is part of advanced testing of Talga’s functionalised graphene (Talphene®) additive as a performance booster for existing commercial marine coatings (part of the global 54 million tonne per annum paint and coating market1). The commercial-scale application follows completion of in-house development and patent pending technology that successfully translates graphene’s exceptional mechanical properties into paint and coatings. The result is expected to be a range of environmental and economic benefits, which for marine applications such as shipping and offshore infrastructure includes improved corrosion resistance, decreased metallic paint loss into oceanic ecosystems and increased efficiency through lowering dry-docking cycles.
The freshly coated ship is now at sea and over the coming 12-18 months the Talphene-coated area will be evaluated in the harsh real-life conditions of global cargo shipping.
Talga Managing Director, Mr Mark Thompson: “The maritime coating sector is a very large market and well suited to use of our Talphene® graphene additives for improved environmental and economic outcomes. Additionally, by successfully taking this new product from the laboratory to commercial scale application on a 33,000 tonne ship, being tested across global marine environments, we are showcasing our graphene’s real-world potential as a bulk industrial product.” Marine coatings market
Within the global ~54 million tonne per annum paint and coatings market2, the marine coatings segment is projected to grow to USD$12 Billion by 2024. Drivers for new coating technologies include environmental and regulatory demands, fuel efficiency, construction costs (pre-fabrication) and maintenance costs. Growth in emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil are large volume drivers while in terms of value, the Asia Pacific marine coatings market is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period3. Key players operating in the marine coatings market include Hempel (Denmark), Jotun (Norway), AkzoNobel (Netherlands), PPG Industries (US), Sherwin-Williams (US), Chugoku Marine Paints (Japan), Nippon Paint (Japan), Kansai Paint (Japan), Axalta (US), and BASF Coatings (Germany).
Talphene® coating product development
Coatings are one of Talga’s key target products due to the large volume market and graphene’s potential to provide substantial new levels of performance and environmental sustainability. For maritime applications, Talga’s additive development has included multi-stage testing to optimise graphene loadings (i.e. quantities) and Talga’s unique patent-pending dispersion technology for epoxy based commercial primer coating systems. Testing by Talga included industry accepted ASTM prescribed Salt Fog Test (ASTM B117) where steel panels coated with epoxy primer containing Talphene additive showed improved corrosion protection performance compared to ‘state of the art’ commercial systems currently used world-wide in large volumes.
Further evaluation included mechanical performance tests, carried out to ASTM standard by the highly recognised research organisation The Welding Institute (TWI), as the coated surfaces of ships and maritime infrastructure are exposed to considerable abrasion and mechanical damage during service. The results showed a significant improvement in primer performance, including greater adhesion to the substrate (by ~7%), greater interlayer adhesion to the subsequent (antifouling) coating systems (by ~14%) and consistent improvement in abrasion resistance.
These improvements in performance were a notable outcome for this highly optimised industry, indicating that graphene’s exceptional mechanical properties translated into the coating system and warranted commercial-scale trials.
Commercial ship application & trial details
Based on the successful lab results, plans were drawn up for a major commercial scale application and sea trial. A 2-part epoxy based commercial coating system was purchased and mixed with the Talphene additive before dispatch to the ship management company for application during vessel dry docking (carried out every ~5 years for ships this size). The test areas along the ship’s starboard side, both below the water line and above in contact-wear sites, were blast cleaned to remove prior paint systems before the Talphene-enhanced primer coating was applied (next to a test reference coating without Talphene) in two coats, using manual spray systems. A major challenge of the product development was to translate the positive lab-scale tests into practical, large-volume use by on-site commercial applicators. The successful application of the Talphene-enhanced coating without any adverse effect in terms of stability in resin, application, curing and surface features is a highly positive step forward in the commercialisation process. The test areas have been over-coated with the standard topcoats used on the rest of the vessel and marked to ensure identification during service. Periodic inspection will be carried out over the next 12-18 months to determine real world performance.
Talga intends to continue development of this Talphene additive for marine coatings under its range of paint and coating additives now trademarked as Talcoat™. The next steps include a trial of the additive as an after-market product, to be mixed into the coatings on-site by the commercial applicators, as opposed to being dispersed by Talga prior to despatch. Talga has also identified a range of potential commercial partners and commenced discussions, under NDA, regarding the incorporation of Talcoat products into their existing and new coating product lines4. The company notes that these negotiations are preliminary, and further updates will be released as and when any definitive commercial agreements are reached.
A thin, single layer of graphene material only 1 atom thick may reduce metal pipe corrosion rates as much as 100 times, according to Govind Chilkoor, a research scientist at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. These new crystalline 2D materials could mean big savings to industries.
Corrosion costs the U.S. water and wastewater industry about $36 billion annually, or 3.1% of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to a 2002 U.S. Federal Highway Administration study. Those annual losses have now risen to an estimated $58.5 billion.
“All the piping and equipment used to treat water and wastewater can be prone to corrosion,” explained Chilkoor. He developed and tested 2D materials as part of his doctoral work at South Dakota Mines under the tutelage of associate civil and environmental engineering professor Venkata Gadhamshetty, who received a National Science Foundation CAREER award to support the 2D materials research for microbial corrosion research.
As part of that project, Chilkoor examined whether 2D materials can reduce the impact of sulfate-reducing bacteria, one of the main culprits responsible for corrosion in the water and wastewater industry. “Steel exposed to chemicals corrodes at a rate of 1.3 milliinch (thousandths of an inch) per year, but in the presence of sulfate-reducing organisms, it will corrode 24 milliinch per year,” he said.
Bacterial buildup and corrosion
As wastewater flows through a metal pipe, sulfate-reducing bacteria begin colonizing the interior surface and form a slimy film within 10 days. The bacteria excrete a sticky polymer substance and, as the microorganisms accumulate, form a biofilm. “If you put a biofilm under a scanning electron microscope, you will see lots of live bacteria,” he explained.
The sulfate-reducing bacteria corrode the metal in several ways, Chilkoor said. First, the bacteria pull electrons from the steel surface. Second, the bacteria consume organic matter in the wastewater, producing hydrogen sulfide that then erodes both cast iron and stainless steel.
Applying polymer coatings to reduce corrosion has had limited success. The thin plastic coatings are prone to biodegradation. “The microbes get into small pores in the coating and consume the plasticizer in the polymer,” Chilkoor explained.
Polymer coatings can also become brittle, crack and peel, which then releases toxins from pigments and organic compounds in the polymer into the water. “This can be a problem for humans and aquatic life,” he noted.
Furthermore, for applications such as heat exchangers designed to cool a hot liquid, the polymer coatings can disrupt functionality, Chilkoor pointed out.
Developing 2D materials
“With 2D materials, we can make thin coatings, less than 1 nanometer thick,” he explained. When Chilkoor applied 2D graphene to metal and exposed it to sulfate-reducing bacteria in what is known as a corrosion cell, the microbes did not attach to the surface.
“Graphene can be very antimicrobial. It can induce oxidative stress and the bacteria will die,” he said. In addition, graphene is highly conductive and will have good heat transfer in a heat exchanger.
“What’s exciting about 2D graphene is the thinner it gets, the stronger it is,” he said. “One single sheet is very strong, in terms of tensile properties and Young’s modulus.”
While polymer coatings use a filler to enhance strength and reduce porosity, 2D materials can use 1 to 2% as much material and get the same properties as a polymer with 60% filler, Chilkoor explained.
In addition, he developed a 2D material using hexagonal boron nitride. Known as white graphene, its properties are similar to graphene, Chilkoor explained. “A single layer of boron protects metal, but it is electrically insulating.”
Chilkoor and Gadhamshetty are continuing their work through the state’s newest research center, 2D-materials for Biofilm Science and Engineering Centerr, or 2DBEST, which seeks to build nanocoatings for corrosion prevention and agricultural and other applications. Gadhamshetty is one of the center’s lead researchers working on 2D materials and metal corrosion.
The research center is funded through a five-year, $20 million National Science Foundation Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 grant awarded to the South Dakota Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and the South Dakota Board of Regents. Faculty from 11 South Dakota universities and colleges are involved in the center, including eight South Dakota State University researchers who will use 2D graphene to improve the ability of nitrogen-fixing bacteria to colonize soybean roots.
Currently, the corrosion group is using chemical deposition equipment, which accommodates only small metal pieces, to synthesize the 2D materials, Chilkoor said. To bring 2D materials to a commercial market, “we need to coat a whole pipeline.”
Gadhamshetty said,“ The goal of the 2DBEST is not only to be on the cutting edge with respect to 2D materials synthesis equipment and expertise, but equally significant is to use this research to understand and cater to the unique needs of agriculture, biotechnology and coating industry and small scale businesses in South Dakota and beyond.”
As part of 2DBEST’s infrastructure-building efforts, the researchers will purchase new chemical vapor deposition and pulsed laser deposition equipment that will help move 2D materials toward commercialization.
Applied Graphene Materials said its revenues this year have already exceeded the previous year by 20% as it reported interim results on Wednesday.
The group said several products were launched in 2019 using its graphene dispersion technology including an anti-rust paint primer in collaboration with JBL that Halfords started to stock in October.
Alltimes Coatings' roofing coating system using graphene was introduced in August, while Blocksil launched a harsh environment anti-corrosion product in January, it added.
Applied Graphene said its revenues rose to £35,000 in the half-year to January and are up to £60,000 for the year-to-date.
The group's interim loss fell to £2.28mln from £2.37mln, while the company had cash of £4.3mln at the period-end, which it says is sufficient to carry it through to the fourth quarter of 2021.
The company said it is monitoring the coronavirus situation but as the group is at such an early stage of development it does not expect much impact on its cash forecast, with restrictions on travel likely to boost its liquidity position.
Sales at Teesside's Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) have already exceeded 2019’s total by 20%, according to the firm’s latest interim results.
Revenues rose to £35,000 in the six months to January and are up to £60,000 for the year-to-date, having recorded particularly strong sales in February.
AGM, which is a leading innovator in the manufacture and application of graphene powder, said the business is in a strong position to support further growth, with net cash of £4.3m at the period end – enough to see it through to the fourth quarter of 2021.
Interim losses narrowed to £2.28m compared to 2019’s £2.37m.
The group, which has its headquarters at The Wilton Centre, launched a number of new products last year using its graphene dispersion technology, including an anti-corrosion primer in collaboration with JBL, that bike and car parts specialist Halfords started selling in store and online last October.
Other collaborations included the roll-out of a liquid coating roofing system last August with Alltimes Coatings and a graphene-enhanced anti-corrosion product in January this year for harsh environment industrial application, in conjunction with Blocksil.
A strategic review has shown that Asia has the potential to be a core market for AGM, with the firm saying it had a “positive engagement” with investors in Beijing in October 2019, though the coronavirus outbreak has delayed a follow-up.
AGM, which has sales desks in the UK and Kentucky and Oklahoma in the US, said it is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and has taken the appropriate precautions to keep employees safe. It doesn't expect the coronavirus pandemic to impact on its cash flow, with remote working and a decrease in travel likely to boost its liquidity.
Chief executive Adrian Potts said : “I am pleased that AGM has continued to make good progress in converting customer engagement into product launches, with several applications launched in the period that are now available to retail as well as specialist industrial customers.
“Our progress continues to be underpinned by AGM’s industry-leading know-how in graphene dispersion and application. We are building an ever-increasing bank of supporting data that will help us accelerate customer application and testing, while the standardisation of a number of our graphene products will also make our material more acceptable to a broader customer base.
“Our focus remains on helping our customers realise the significant commercial potential the incorporation of graphene can offer them. We are confident that our pipeline of engagements is moving progressively towards further product launches and growing revenues in the near-term, with these successes expected to come primarily from our focus area of paints and coatings.”
AGM was founded by Prof Karl Coleman in 2010 with operations and processes he initially developed at Durham University. In 2013 the firm was admitted to the London Stock Exchange’s AIM for smaller companies and expanded its infrastructure to go global.
AGM uses the materials it manufactures to assist customers across a range of sectors who are producing graphene-enhanced products, and the company has a primary focus on anti-corrosion primers’ and coatings.
Applied Graphene Materials plc, (AGM) based at The Wilton Centre in Redcar, is a leading innovator in the manufacture and application of graphene powder, a form of carbon, which can have transformational performance when added to other materials.
During his visit, Mayor Houchen was able to see first-hand the manufacturing of high-performance graphene materials which are being produced here in the Tees Valley, and he also learnt more about some of the commercial projects the firm is pursuing.
The firm also has sales desks in UK, Kentucky and Oklahoma and has recently secured several new distributors, signing agreements with firms in Italy, Japan, China and South Africa.
AGM uses the materials it manufactures to assist customers across a range of sectors who are producing graphene enhanced products. The Company has a primary focus on anti-corrosion primers and coatings, such as a recently customer-launched liquid coating roofing system for the construction industry to enable substantially longer lasting asset life. Making best use of its unique properties, graphene can be used in paints, coatings, lubricants, adhesives and batteries among an ever-growing number of applications.
The company was founded by Professor Karl Coleman in 2010 with operations and processes he initially developed at Durham University. In 2013, the firm was admitted to London Stock Exchange’s AIM for smaller companies and expanded its infrastructure to go global.
Mayor Houchen said:
There is some truly amazing ground-breaking work going on right here in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool that is attracting attention right across the world with our highly-skilled workers using their expertise in a range of sectors, and Applied Graphene Materials is a great example of that.
It was brilliant to learn all about their work and their interesting opportunities in our region. They are an example of a firm creating the products of the future in sectors we need to support, and we as a region are leading the way.
Adrian Potts, AGM’s CEO noted:
It was a real pleasure to have Mayor Houchen visit today to see what we do and to understand more about graphene materials and the potential they offer in real world applications.
To enable the Mayor’s team to see this technology right here in the Tees area is important in gaining an appreciation of the breadth of opportunity that it could represent.
Applications are apparent in a wide range of sectors for the local area including steel, wind turbines, and industrial coatings and other adjacent advanced technologies such as composite materials. We look forward to stronger links with local companies and the Mayor’s office as a result of this visit.
Alltimes Coatings have worked in partnership with Applied Graphene Materials and successfully used their recently launched Advantage Graphene anti-corrosion sprayable coating in what could be the world’s first roofing application using a graphene enhanced coating system.
Nigel Alltimes, Managing Director, Alltimes Coatings Limited, said:
We believe that with the launch of Advantage Graphene, we are bringing to market a unique and revolutionary liquid roofing system for our industrial and commercial customers. Without doubt, Applied Graphene Materials' deep understanding of coating technology and how best to effectively integrate graphene into novel chemistry, has played a major role in the successful launch of this product. Early feedback from our customers has been very positive and we anticipate strong uptake as we extend the performance of our product range with graphene technology.
Applied Graphene Materials are exhibiting at Corrosion 2020 in Houston, Texas on 15-19 March 2020. Please visit our stand number 1254.
At the show AGM will be promoting our Genable® range which delivers outstanding enhancements to anti-corrosion and barrier performance, while providing opportunities to further optimise other coating characteristics.
We will be giving a presentation titled: Improvements in Anti-corrosion Performance through the Integration of Graphene Nano Platelets (GNPs) into Coating Systems for C4/C5 Environments via GNP Tie Coats.
John Willhite and Adrian Potts will be at the show to answer any questions you may have. If you would like to arrange an appointment to visit us you can contact us by e-mail at email@example.com.
Copper has been essential to human technology since its early days--it was even used to make tools and weapons in ancient times. It is widely used even today, especially in electronic devices that require wiring. But, a challenge with using copper is that its surface oxidizes over time, even under ambient conditions, ultimately leading to its corrosion. And thus, finding a long-term method to protect the exposed surfaces of copper is a valuable goal. One common way of protecting metal surfaces is by coating them with anti-corrosive substances. Graphene is studied extensively as a candidate for anti-corrosive coating, as it serves as a barrier to gas molecules. But, despite these properties, graphene sheets are seen to protect copper from corrosion only over short periods (less than 24 hours). In fact, surprisingly, after this initial period, graphene appears to increase the rate of copper corrosion, which is completely in contrast to its anti-corrosive nature.
To shed light on the peculiar nature of graphene seen in copper, a research team from Chung-Ang University, Korea, led by Prof Hyungbin Son, studied graphene islands on a copper substrate to analyze the patterns of its corrosion. Prof Son explains, "Graphene is known to be mechanically very strong and impermeable to all gases, including hydrogen. Following studies claiming that the corrosion of copper substrates was accelerated under graphene through various defects, these properties have attracted great attention as an oxidation barrier for metals and have been controversial for over a decade. However, they have not been qualitatively investigated over longer time scales. Thus, we were motivated to study the role of graphene as a corrosion-resistant film at the graphene-copper interface." Prof Son and his team used Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and white light interferometry to observe the trends in copper corrosion for 30 days.
At first, the team detected corrosion developing at the edges, spreading the oxidized form of copper, copper oxide (Cu2O), at various defects such as edges, grain boundaries, and missing atoms. This resulted in the splitting of water vapor, supplying oxygen for the oxidation process, until the entire barrier seemed to be rendered useless and copper was fully corroded underneath. Owing to graphene's effect on ambient water vapor, the protected portion of the copper substrate was more corroded than the unprotected portion. Over time, the formation of Cu2O underneath the graphene sheet dispersed the strain and caused p-doping in graphene--creating a hybrid-like structure. But, after 13 days of exposure to ambient conditions, the team discovered something new. They observed that that the corrosion had significantly slowed down where a new hybrid of graphene and Cu2O layer had formed. Meanwhile, the unprotected copper continued to corrode at a consistent rate, until it had penetrated far deeper than the corrosion under the graphene shield.
These findings show that graphene, in fact, protects copper from deep, penetrating oxidation, unlike what previous studies had concluded. Prof Son explained, "We observed that over a longer time scale (more than 1 year), the graphene-Cu2O hybrid structure became a protective layer against oxidation. The area beyond the graphene was heavily oxidized with CuO, with a depth of ?270 nm."
This study has finally managed to settle the debate on whether graphene can be used to protect copper against oxidation. Prof Son concludes, "For nearly a decade, graphene's anti-corrosive properties have been controversial, with many studies suggesting that graphene accelerates the oxidation of copper (resulting in its corrosion). We have shown for the first time that the graphene-Cu2O hybrid structure, which forms over a long period, significantly slows down the oxidation of copper in the long term, as compared to bare copper."
Only time will reveal more about further applications of graphene as an anti-corrosive material. But one thing is certain--this research has potentially taken down several barriers in using graphene to extend the life of copper.
Applied Graphene Materials, the specialty producer of graphene materials, announces that the Company will present to the global paints and coatings industry at five international conferences this spring.
Over the last 12 months, the Company has seen several customer coatings containing AGM’s graphene dispersion technology reach the consumer market, including Halfords’ graphene-enhanced primer and James Briggs’ Hycote graphene anti-corrosion primer. The Company continues in its commitment to developing customer engagement in the coatings sector by presenting the performance data supporting the application of its proprietary market-leading graphene enhanced coatings technology.
AGM has developed a robust high-volume synthesis production technology for graphene nanoplatelets (A-GNPs). A-GNPs possess unique characteristics that are then tailored into a range of commercial production ready dispersions (Genable® range), which deliver outstanding enhancements to anti-corrosion and general barrier performance, while providing opportunities to further optimise other coating characteristics.
AGM will take part in five leading international industry events, presenting selected
technology papers at the following:
Corrosion 2020, based in Houston, Texas (15-19 March 2020)
The American Coatings Show, based in Indianapolis (30 March – 02 April 2020)
Eurocoat, based in Paris (31 March – 02 April 2020)
Paint Expo, based in Karlsruhe, Germany (21-24 April 2020)