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PureGRAPH® significantly improves rubber polymers used in the mining sector

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, September 2, 2020
First Graphene Limited (“ASX: FGR” or “the Company”), is pleased to provide an update on the incorporation of PureGRAPH® into rubber compounds for applications in the mining sector.

As reported in March this year, FGR commenced work on the manufacturing of PureGRAPH® powders into long-chain rubber polymers.

To leverage customer interest, FGR concentrated on the compound most commonly used in the mining screen media market, with potential to adapt the findings into other sacrificial wear-liner rubber materials across the industry. The work has been conducted in conjunction with an experienced rubber consultant in Perth and an established rubber processor in Ipoh, Malaysia.

First Graphene Managing Director, Craig McGuckin says the results from the extensive test work undertaken are encouraging.

“The initial work demonstrates a low dosage of PureGRAPH® provides improvements over the base material most commonly used for the mining screen media market,” McGuckin said.

“Further tests will be undertaken with the PureGRAPH® compounded rubber for both mining screen and sacrificial wear media, as this is a large market and one in which we are actively engaged with both suppliers and end users.

“The results so far provide the platform to introduce PureGRAPH® into other compounded rubber materials both in industrial and domestic use.”

Initial Science

FGR engaged an experienced rubber consultant to understand the science associated with the compounds used in the mining screen and wear media markets.

Rubber compounds vary considerably depending on their use. Screening tests were completed on 35 compounds using formulation variations and compounded on a laboratory scale two-roll mill, similar to that in Figure 1.

The two-roll mill allowed for multiple small batches of rubber to be produced with adjusted PureGRAPH® concentration and rubber chemistry. A range of mechanical testing could then be carried out on each batch to evaluate performance and produce the following data displayed in Figure 2.

Figure 2 demonstrates that multiple mechanical improvements can be achieved through low addition rates of graphene using a two-roll mill. This resulted in a better understanding of how certain mechanical properties can be tailored for specific applications through adjustments to the graphene concentration and rubber chemistry.

Upscaling of Test Work using PureGRAPH®

Laboratory testing demonstrated the benefits for numerous graphene enhanced rubber compounds using a two-roll mill.

Laboratory scale equipment does not fully resemble the processing conditions present in full scale commercial rubber compounding, typically carried out in large internal mixers followed by industrial two-roll mills, and so it was important to upscale the laboratory testing to better simulate commercial rubber compounding and demonstrate the benefits of graphene under this environment.

For the commercial scale tests, a control rubber was selected based on industry compounding experience, demonstrating the desired mechanical properties of a typical hard rock screen or wear liner application.

A production scale run of this material was then compounded using the Malaysian partner’s commercial production process line, both with and without the addition of PureGRAPH®. The compounded rubber was then moulded into large prototype parts and test sheets for mechanical testing.

Results from PureGRAPH® enhanced rubber

The following table outlines the improvements achieved from the incorporation of PureGRAPH®20 in the base material used for mining screen or wear media compounds.
The improvement in abrasion resistance (i.e. decrease in abrasion wear over the base material) and tear strength is of particular importance for improved performance and longevity of screen media.

As detailed in Table 1, both abrasion resistance and tear strength can be significantly improved through a low addition rate of PureGRAPH® into the rubber compound.

Client compounded PureGRAPH® enhanced rubber screens are currently in field trials in the mining industry in Western Australia.

Further laboratory test work is underway on additional rubber compounds and processing techniques focussing on improved compound dispersion and fire-retardant applications. Updates will be provided as this work is completed.

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  PureGRAPH 

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First Graphene Announces Study Shows Concrete is Enhanced with Graphene

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, August 20, 2020
First Graphene today released a technical update on the application of its proprietary PureGRAPH® graphene as an additive in cement grouts and concrete.

The study shows that graphene admixtures increase strength, reduce materials usage (reducing carbon footprint) and potentially increase longevity of products. This analysis is noteworthy since cement is estimated to amount to 6% of all CO2 emissions from human activity.

Cement is the most manufactured and traded product globally after water, which is causing enormous climate change challenges to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2015, the total mass of cement produced was 4.6 billion tonnes. This is equivalent to about 626 kg per capita, a value higher than the amount of human food consumption.

With population growth, increased urbanisation and improved living standards of the global population, the demand for concrete products continues to grow at an accelerating rate.

First Graphene Managing Director, Craig McGuckin says:
“The initial work demonstrates a low dosage of PureGRAPH® generates an increase in compressive and tensile strengths, when compared to the base product,”. Mr. McGuckin further stated “While there is a considerable amount of further work to be done, this is very encouraging for enhancing the performance of concrete both new and recycled, but equally the sustainability benefits for the environment.”

Tags:  Concrete  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene 

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Graphene delivers step-change in HDPE performance

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, August 10, 2020
Working closely with Hexcyl Systems Pty Ltd. a leading supplier of systems for oceanic farming, First Graphene Ltd. has demonstrated improvements in the performance of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) materials. Hexcyl Systems Pty Ltd. will now progress to advanced trials, making super-strong HDPE oyster baskets for long-line farming systems.

Using First Graphene’s PureGRAPH® products the High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) showed improvements in strength, wear resistance and longevity. The initial results, confirm the potential of PureGRAPH® graphene as a high performing additive for the global HDPE industry.

HDPE is a thermoplastic polymer widely used in packaging (cosmetics, food and beverages), corrosion-resistant piping, geomembranes and plastic timbers. The global market for HDPE was estimated at USD 59 Billion in 2015, with a CAGR of 4%[i].

Craig McGuckin – Managing Director, First Graphene Ltd. believes this an important first step for PureGRAPH® products into this important global market.

“This trial confirms that PureGRAPH® graphene products successfully enhance the performance of HDPE materials in industrial applications. This is an important milestone in our strategy to develop additives for thermoplastic materials”. said Mr McGuckin.

The capability of First Graphene PureGRAPH® technology enabled significant mechanical improvements.

“A low dosage of less than one per cent of PureGRAPH® has generated an increase in yield strength of more than 60 per cent, when compared to the base HDPE product,” said Mr McGuckin.

“Samples showed a more than 10 per cent increase in ultimate tensile strength and at the same concentration, abrasion loss was reduced by more than 50 per cent.”

The project will now move to a larger scale trial in real-world, ocean conditions, commencing in August 2020.

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  Hexcyl Systems  Polyethylene  polymers 

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Research Partnership with University of Warwick

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, July 29, 2020
First Graphene today announced a research collaboration with world-leading experts at the University of Warwick to enhance the understanding of graphene in a range of polymer systems such as plastic and rubber.

The PhD Project will be conducted under the Warwick Collaborative Post Graduate Research Scholarship Scheme, in conjunction with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) that has established a world- recognised model for successful collaboration between academia and the private and public sectors. WMG has strong links with world-leading industrial partners such as Jaguar Land Rover, who announced in late 2019 they were relocating their advanced research group to the facility.

First Graphene will collaborate with the University’s Professor Tony McNally, who have established capability in incorporating nanomaterials, including carbon nanotubes and graphene into bulk polymer systems.

Using graphene as an additive in thermoplastic materials gives an improvement in properties such as mechanical, electrical, thermal, fire retardancy, chemical resistance and gas barrier. This provides the potential to move lower cost polymers such as polyolefins and polyamides up the “plastics performance pyramid,” creating new value for plastic manufacturers. Potential uses for these enhanced engineering plastics are light-weighting in automotive and aerospace as well as the delivery of a new generation of high-performing fire-retardant plastics in mass transport, construction, mining and oil & gas.

The project will combine WMG’s capability and First Graphene’s operational experience of graphene production and processing to investigate and optimise the impact of surface chemistry, the use of additives and optimising the mixing process technology to deliver further improvements in the properties of graphene-enhanced polymers. Existing First Graphene customers will benefit from this research, which will also enable a new range of PureGRAPH® enhanced polymer and rubber systems.

First Graphene Managing Director Craig McGuckin says this new collaboration is significant and necessary. “It reaffirms our position as the leading graphene producer and innovator. We recognise Warwick University and Warwick Manufacturing Group’s world leading expertise and our need to keep investing in collaborative projects to keep delivering improvements,” Mr McGuckin said.

“This research, which will comprise a PhD project over a three-and-a-half year period, will unlock graphene’s potential to improve strength, durability and the lifespan of a range of polymer systems.” Professor McNally, who is Professor in Nanocomposites and Director of the International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (IINM) at WMG, says he is delighted to be collaborating with First Graphene on this fundamental research.

“I look forward to working with their research team on this project which will drive real benefits in the industrial use of thermoplastic materials in a range of real-world applications,” Professor McNally said.

Mr McGuckin says using graphene as an additive in thermoplastic materials improves mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties particularly in the areas of fire retardancy, chemical resistance and gas barriers. “This provides the potential to move lower cost polymers such as polyolefins and polyamides up the so-called `plastics performance pyramid’ creating new value for plastic manufacturers.”

The Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) has a world-recognised model for successful collaboration between academia and the private and public sectors.

Tags:  carbon nanotubes  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  nanomaterials  polymers  Tony McNally  University of Warwick 

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Australian produced graphene opens up lucrative US Market

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, July 1, 2020
First Graphene Limited, the world’s largest manufacturer of graphene products, today confirmed that its trademark, PureGRAPH® has successfully been accepted in the United States.

The development means that Australian produced graphene powder is well placed to open the door to the lucrative North American market.

The Company, which produces graphene, derived from graphite and a crystalline form of carbon, now has its exclusive intellectual property registered in six countries.  The Company is the largest graphene producer in the world and the leader in quality graphene.

With the trademark awaiting approvals in a further three global jurisdictions, First Graphene Managing Director, Craig McGuckin, says that gaining acceptance in the United States is a major strategic achievement.

“As we continue to scale and enhance the processing capability of graphene, the commercial interest continues to grow across a diverse number of manufacturing sectors,” said Mr McGuckin.

“To have achieved official registration and protection of our trademark in the United States, gives us a strong foundation to proactively target new contracts in this large and significant market.”

Graphene has made steady progress since being discovered by two Nobel scientists in 2004, with growing demand in the energy, mining, textile and construction sectors.  First Graphene is the enabler for the commercialisation of graphene, through addressing the supply shortage and setting the standard for quality.

First Graphene produces the product at its factory in Henderson, south west of Perth from where it exports to a global market. First Graphene’s PureGRAPH® trademark is now registered or protected in the United States of America, Australia, China, New Zealand, European Union and United Kingdom.

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene 

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First Graphene Re-opens UK Laboratories

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Advanced materials company, First Graphene Limited is pleased to advise the re-opening of its laboratories at the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC), Manchester.

The GEIC laboratories were closed by the University of Manchester on 18th March 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The First Graphene UK team has been working remotely since the closure.

Following extensive risk assessment and planning in collaboration with the University facilities management team the UK laboratories are now ready to restart operations. A range of risk controls are now in place including social distancing markings, access restrictions and carefully planned activities. The formal clearance to proceed was given by the University on Monday 15th June.

While working remotely the UK team has continued to provide technical support to global customers, completed background research in preparation for technical projects and supported the activities for the Henderson site.  In addition, the website hosting service has been upgraded and a number of technical enhancements have been made to the website backend to improve performance and security.  Also, multiple announcements and articles for publication were authored during this period.  The team is well prepared for the immediate restart of technical programmes in rubber and TPU additives, supercapacitor materials, fire retardancy and customer application development.

Craig McGuckin, Managing Director of First Graphene Ltd. said “The UK team has played a critical role supporting our business throughout the lockdown. We are all very pleased to be re-starting operations and getting back to technical projects and customer application development in our laboratories”

Tags:  Covid-19  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre  Healthcare 

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First Graphene Joins Europe’s Flagship Programme

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, June 9, 2020
First Graphene Ltd has been accepted as an Associate Member of the EU Graphene Flagship. The company joins the €1 billion EU funded programme at a crucial time as the Flagship transitions from R&D to commercialisation and requires graphene manufacturers with industrial supply capability.

The Graphene Flagship has a budget of €1 billion and coordinates nearly 170 academic and industrial research groups in 21 countries and has more than 90 associate members.  FGR through its UK subsidiary is the first Australian entity to be admitted to the consortium.

The Graphene Flagship is tasked with bringing together academic and industrial researchers to take graphene from the realm of academic laboratories into European society in the space of 10 years, thus generating economic growth, new jobs and new opportunities.

This follows the Company also joining the BSI and ISO/TC229 working groups for the development of graphene characterisation standards, thereby ensuring alignment of the Company’s quality processes with the emerging international standards.

First Graphene intends to stay at the leading edge in terms of controlling the quality of graphene related products.  The Company continues to invest in its processing capability through measurement and automation and is a Tier 1 Member of the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre at the University of Manchester with direct access to world-class analytical equipment and techniques and supporting expertise.  The Company will continue to invest in analytical methods and process tools to ensure world leading PureGRAPH® product quality for our customers.

Craig McGuckin, Managing Director for First Graphene Ltd, said, “FGR joining the EU Graphene Flagship at this time is auspicious, as FGR continues to commercialise it PureGRAPH® range of graphene powders.  As the world leader in the production of large volume, high quality graphene powders membership of this organisation is at an appropriate time as various projects transition from R&D to commercialisation.”

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  Graphene Flagship  University of Manchester 

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Aquatic Leisure Technologies Signs Supply Agreement

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Advanced materials company, First Graphene Limited is pleased to advise the execution of a Supply Agreement with Aquatic Leisure Technologies (ALT) for supply of PureGRAPH® products over the next twenty-four months.

FGR and ALT have conducted extensive test work over the last two years for the incorporation of PureGRAPH® into the ALT resin systems used for the construction of ALT’s award-winning swimming pools.

FGR and ALT have been able to demonstrate improved flexural strength with the addition of small percentages of PureGRAPH® graphene powders.  Immersion testing has been completed in accordance with ASTM D750 standards, and this has confirmed reduced sorption curves, which will reduce the potential for osmotic blistering.

ALT have been the industry leaders in pool innovation and the new range of pools from ALT incorporating PureGRAPH® will enable a totally new proprietary construction process and provide the next generation of fibreglass pool technology.

Other Key Terms of Supply Agreement
Pursuant to the Supply Agreement, ALT will exclusively source graphene and any other graphite or graphene products from FGR.

FGR’s supply of its graphene products to ALT will initially be exclusive for application in the production of fibreglass swimming pools for sale in Australia, New Zealand the United States of America, and Reunion Island.  Following the initial term, exclusivity will continue subject to ALT achieving (and continuing to maintain) an annualised minimum order quantity.  The initial annualised minimum order quantity to be achieved in the first two years of the Supply Agreement is 2,500 kg (2.5 tonnes pa) of PureGRAPH®.

Each party has the right to early termination if there is a material breach of the obligations of the other party.  Additionally, ALT has the option to extend the initial 24-month term for an additional 36 months.

There are no other material terms to this contract and the Company is not able to quantify the economic impact on the Company at this time.

Craig McGuckin, Managing Director for First Graphene Ltd, said, “The execution of this Supply Agreement represents one of several anticipated for 2020.  We are pleased to have worked with Aquatic Leisure Technologies to develop a unique range of fibreglass swimming pools for local and export markets.  Graphene is helping our customers to develop new products not previously seen with non-graphene technologies.  PureGRAPH® additives are a key enabler in taking elastomers, composites, coatings and concrete materials to a new level and we will continue to seek out further new applications and markets where graphene can add value.”

Lynley Papineau, Managing Director, for Aquatic Leisure Technologies, said, “Aquatic Leisure Technologies is committed to developing innovative solutions for our customers.  We are excited by the product we have developed with First Graphene.  These are two innovative, Australian founded companies who are taking new technologies to a world market. The implementation of PureGRAPH® into our company’s range of swimming pools is the beginning of a new era for pre moulded fibreglass swimming pools. Greater strength, durability, water and chemical resistance. After two years of extensive research and development we can truthfully boast that this breakthrough in material science has allowed Aquatic Leisure Technologies Pty Ltd, in conjunction, with First Graphene Ltd, to be world leaders.

Tags:  Aquatic Leisure Technologies  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  Lynley Papineau 

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First Graphene’s Ability to Supply High-Quality Graphene at Volume Secures a Supply Contract

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, May 27, 2020
First Graphene Ltd, the leading global producer of advanced graphene products, has signed an exclusive supply agreement with planarTECH (Holdings) Ltd, a global leader in graphene process equipment and graphene-enabled products.  First Graphene will supply high-quality PureGRAPH® nanoplatelets in large-scale volumes for use in planarTECH’s coating formulation for face masks and PPE.  

Under the supply contract, planarTECH will exclusively source graphene additives from First Graphene over a 2-year term with the agreed initial minimum quantity to be 1000kg in the first year.  A further 2 terms to follow the initial term included in the contract.

First Graphene recently partnered with planarTECH to develop a robust supply chain for the manufacture of innovative graphene-enhanced personal protective equipment.  Initial testing of PureGRAPH® has been completed and planarTECH will use this product in their proprietary coating to provide anti-static and bacteria-resistant properties to their range of face masks.

planarTECH has been experiencing increased demand for these products as world populations seek protection from airborne infection.

First Graphene has a well-established and robust supply chain for the manufacture of their high performing PureGRAPH® graphene products and have an already proven successful formulation that disperses uniformly into polymer coatings.

Craig McGuckin, Managing Director for First Graphene Ltd., said, “planarTECH have moved very quickly to test and commercialise their new range of graphene face masks and we are delighted to enter this contract to support the growth of their business.  Clearly, further opportunities exist in the development of planarTECH’s other PPE equipment.”

Ray Gibbs, Chairman for planarTECH (Holdings) Ltd., said, “We have experienced substantial, rapid and qualified enquiries for the graphene mask.  The 35 or so we are pursuing all require a fast turnaround of 2-3 weeks where potential orders could be very significant.  This increasing demand has meant we needed to secure a robust graphene supply to ensure we met the known market demand.  We have been impressed with the speed of response and high quality, consistent product from First Graphene which is crucial in urgently supplying this much needed product across the world.”

Tags:  coatings  Craig McGuckin  FIrst Graphene  Graphene  planarTECH  polymer  Ray Gibbs 

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First Graphene and Foster Plastics Industries to Commence Testing on EVA Products

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, May 12, 2020
First Graphene is pleased to advise Foster Plastics Industries Pty Ltd, an Australian versatile extrusion company, is collaborating with FGR to develop PureGRAPH® enhanced ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) materials for use in Foster’s range of solar tubes and plastic extrusion systems.  The PureGRAPH® 10 EVA masterbatch loaded with 30% graphene will be drawn down to the desired ultimate concentration of 0.25% to 1% within Foster’s proprietary black nitrile/PVC compound.

EVA is a versatile master-batching material which is used to incorporate functional additives into various compounds, in this case PVC.  Significant earlier work in collaboration with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) in the UK, demonstrated that PureGRAPH® can be effectively loaded into EVA even at these high levels of 30% weight per weight basis.  The incorporation of high performing PureGRAPH® graphene will seek to improve solar tubes for water heat conductivity, tensile strength, compression strength and longevity in UV exposure.

The successful incorporation of PureGRAPH® into Foster’s materials at their Yatala factory in Queensland will enable Fosters to evaluate the products within its business lines which will benefit from PureGRAPH®.  Masterbatches have been despatched for manufacturing and testing will commence immediately.

Craig McGuckin, Managing Director for First Graphene Ltd, said, “Working with Foster is a further example demonstrating the benefits PureGRAPH® may provide to material enhancement. It is also indicative of the industry diversity to which PureGRAPH® products can be applied”.

Glen Bracken, Managing Director for Foster Plastics Industries Pty Ltd, said, “We are looking forward to working with First   Graphene in testing the incorporation of PureGRAPH®, initially into our solar tube line of products.”

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Foster Plastics Industries Pty Ltd  Glen Bracken  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  Plastic 

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