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First Graphene continues to validate PureGRAPH® Product Quality through National Physical Laboratory (NPL) collaboration

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, September 8, 2020
The assurance of product quality and consistency is vital for the successful adoption of graphene additives by downstream customers. With a strong focus on product quality with its PureGRAPH® graphene product range, First Graphene has made significant progress in this area. Implementing state of the art analytical methods, participating in establishing international standards (ISO/TC229) and use of 6-sigma approaches to control manufacturing processes have all contributed to establishing PureGRAPH® as the leading brand for quality in the industry[i]. First Graphene continues to pursue improved methods for the characterisation of graphene products and has announced a new collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), UK a globally acknowledged, independent laboratory.

World-leading measurement solutions are critical to business and government, accelerating research and innovation, improving quality of life and enabling trade. Following the COVID-19 crisis the NPL with the support of National Measurement Laboratory partners launched the Measurement for Recovery (M4R) programme[ii], to support UK companies. First Graphene has successfully secured a place on the programme to study the Specific Surface Area of PureGRAPH® products.

Specific Surface Area is an important parameter of graphene platelets, that may impact dispersion and polymer wetting, and a critical parameter for regulatory authorities to enable them to categorise new substances and compare toxicology and environmental fate profiles. Specific Surface Area of powders is typically characterised by the BET (Brunauer-Emmett-Teller) method which uses nitrogen gas adsorption to characterise the surface area. In recent work by NPL[iii], researchers investigated factors that impact upon BET measurements including the pristine nature of the graphene platelets.

In the collaborative M4R project, NPL researchers will determine the BET specific surface area of a range of PureGRAPH® products and intermediates, to determine the factors that affect the results of BET measurements.  The project is currently underway.

Paul Ladislaus, CTO of First Graphene says, “This study will provide further understanding of the surface area of our products, enabling us to provide world-class information to our customers and regulatory authorities.”

Keith Paton, Senior Research Scientist at NPL says “The M4R programme supports projects with UK companies, such as First Graphene, to enable innovation through measurement and this study will provide important insights into how the BET method can be effectively deployed by the graphene industry.”

Tags:  additives  First Graphene  Graphene  Keith Paton  National Physical Laboratory  Paul Ladislaus 

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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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Scientific paper validates the performance of PureGRAPH® graphene concrete additives

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, August 10, 2020
A new paper from leading universities has confirmed the importance of high aspect ratio graphene platelets for the enhancement of compressive strength in cement mortars and concrete. The research led by the University of Adelaide used high performing PureGRAPH® additives supplied by First Graphene Ltd. for the investigation. Improvements of 34.3% in compressive strength and 38.6% in flexural strength were recorded at very low dosage levels, equivalent to 0.02%w/w in mortar or 0.01%w/w in concrete.

The researchers observed that performance increased as the aspect ratio of the pristine graphene (PRG) particles increased, indicating that the PureGRAPH® products manufactured by First Graphene’s proprietary electrochemical process are ideal candidates for enhancing cement performance.

The researchers conclude “The results from this study indicate that Pristine Graphene is not only a promising additive in practical application for building materials to improve the current drawbacks of cement composites, but also a feasible option to support the reduction of cement mass used in cement composites, which could reduce the CO2 footprint and amount of CO2 emission into the atmosphere.”

Tags:  First Graphene  Graphene  Pristine Graphene  University of Adelaide 

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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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First Graphene Announces Quarterly Activities Report June 2020

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Advanced materials company, First Graphene Limited is pleased to provide this update on its financial and operational performance for the quarter ended 30 June 2020. Appendix 4C quarterly cash flow report follows this update. 

•  Major sales agreements executed – large scale manufacturing of protective face masks and new resin composites for swimming pools
• Cash receipts from customers quadruple, quarter-onquarter
• Successful entitlement issue raises A$6.2 million
• Strengthened leadership with new appointments
• FGR becomes first Australian company to join EU Graphene Flagship group
• GEIC facility re-opens after COVID-19 restrictions lift

Tags:  composites  First Graphene  Graphene  Graphene Flagship 

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First Graphene appoints Andy Goodwin as non-executive director

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, July 2, 2020
Advanced materials company First Graphene has appointed Andy Goodwin as non-executive director and senior scientific advisor, and Paul Ladislaus as chief technology officer. Dr  Goodwin joined First Graphene in 2017, initially as a technical advisor before becoming chief technology officer in September 2018. 

Mr  Ladislaus joined the company in November 2018 as senior process engineer and has since led manufacturing process upgrades, product quality programmes and R&D projects in rubber, plastics and supercapacitor technologies.

Tags:  Andy Goodwin  First Graphene  Graphene  Paul Ladislaus 

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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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