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Demonstration of graphene enhanced chemistry points towards lower cost and high performance composite tool designs

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Partners in a recently completed UK government funded NATEP technology programme - Composite Tooling and Engineering Solutions Ltd (CTES), SHD Composites Ltd (SHD) and Applied Graphene Materials plc (AGM) - have subsequently made a significant step forward in demonstrating the viability of an exciting new materials development that has the clear potential to offer significant time and cost savings to aerospace composite tool designers.

SHD, working closely with the project partners, has developed a prototype tooling material that combines cure at initial low temperatures (80-90°C), with the ability to be post-cured to achieve a maximum service temperature in excess of 300°C. This cure flexibility enables the use of low-cost pattern materials and progression to a final production tool without the need for an expensive, time consuming and accuracy-losing intermediate tool phase, or manufacture of an expensive, metallic master model.

The tooling resin chemistry has been enhanced by the addition of AGM’s A-GNP35 graphene nanoplatelets, significantly enhancing the matrix toughness and providing extra resilience against variations in processing conditions and resin micro-cracking over repeated production cycles. The graphene can be applied into the tool structure by addition into the bulk tooling material or discreetly targeted at critical regions by means of AGM’s Structural Ink® printing technology.

The new material has been developed with cost savings to major aerospace programmes in mind and in a technology zone where materials choice and tool design are inextricably and critically linked. The demonstrator was a 10m long CFRP AFP mandrel tool, engineered by CTES (manufactured by Retrac Composites Ltd, Swindon) and was purposely chosen as representative of the industry’s latest and highly demanding requirements.

Over coming weeks, the project team will be disseminating more details through industry forums, however the outcome was very successful, delivering a fully functional composite tool and demonstrating the potential for significantly lower costs, while maintaining the highest performance.

Although the new materials technology remains at the prototype/prove-out stage, the project partners are already actively engaged with interested parties keen to access the benefits of the system. As well as proving out production robustness, development work has also progressed to the processing of the material “out of autoclave”, as well as the potential for applications in prototype tooling for high performing thermoplastic materials.

Tags:  Aerospace  Applied Graphene Materials  Composite Tooling and Engineering Solutions Ltd  Graphene  nanoplatelets  plastics  SHD Composites Ltd 

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Graphite nanoplatelets on medical devices kill bacteria and prevent infections

Posted By Graphene Council, Friday, March 27, 2020
Graphite nanoplatelets integrated into plastic medical surfaces can prevent infections, killing 99.99 per cent of bacteria which try to attach - a cheap and viable potential solution to a problem which affects millions, costs huge amounts of time and money, and accelerates antibiotic resistance. This is according to research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, in the journal Small.

Every year, over four million people in Europe are affected by infections contracted during health-care procedures, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Many of these are bacterial infections which develop around medical devices and implants within the body, such as catheters, hip and knee prostheses or dental implants. In worst cases implants need to be removed.

Bacterial infections like this can cause great suffering for patients, and cost healthcare services huge amounts of time and money. Additionally, large amounts of antibiotics are currently used to treat and prevent such infections, costing more money, and accelerating the development of antibiotic resistance.

"The purpose of our research is to develop antibacterial surfaces which can reduce the number of infections and subsequent need for antibiotics, and to which bacteria cannot develop resistance. We have now shown that tailored surfaces formed of a mixture of polyethylene and graphite nanoplatelets can kill 99.99 per cent of bacteria which try to attach to the surface," says Santosh Pandit, postdoctoral researcher in the research group of Professor Ivan Mijakovic at the Division of Systems Biology, Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Chalmers University of Technology.

Infections on implants are caused by bacteria that travel around in the body in fluids such as blood, in search of a surface to attach to. When they land on a suitable surface, they start to multiply and form a biofilm - a bacterial coating.

Previous studies from the Chalmers researchers showed how vertical flakes of graphene, placed on the surface of an implant, could form a protective coating, making it impossible for bacteria to attach - like spikes on buildings designed to prevent birds from nesting. The graphene flakes damage the cell membrane, killing the bacteria. But producing these graphene flakes is expensive, and currently not feasible for large-scale production.

"But now, we have achieved the same outstanding antibacterial effects, but using relatively inexpensive graphite nanoplatelets, mixed with a very versatile polymer. The polymer, or plastic, is not inherently compatible with the graphite nanoplatelets, but with standard plastic manufacturing techniques, we succeeded in tailoring the microstructure of the material, with rather high filler loadings, to achieve the desired effect. And now it has great potential for a number of biomedical applications," says Roland Kádár, Associate Professor at the Department of Industrial and Materials Science at Chalmers.

The nanoplatelets on the surface of the implants prevent bacterial infection but, crucially, without damaging healthy human cells. Human cells are around 25 times larger than bacteria, so while the graphite nanoplatelets slice apart and kill bacteria, they barely scratch a human cell.

"In addition to reducing patients' suffering and the need for antibiotics, implants like these could lead to less requirement for subsequent work, since they could remain in the body for much longer than those used today," says Santosh Pandit. "Our research could also contribute to reducing the enormous costs that such infections cause health care services worldwide."

In the study, the researchers experimented with different concentrations of graphite nanoplatelets and the plastic material. A composition of around 15-20 per cent graphite nanoplatelets had the greatest antibacterial effect - providing that the morphology is highly structured.

"As in the previous study, the decisive factor is orienting and distributing the graphite nanoplatelets correctly. They have to be very precisely ordered to achieve maximum effect," says Roland Kádár.

Tags:  Chalmers University of Technology  Graphene  Graphite  Healthcare  Ivan Mijakovic  Medical Devices  nanoplatelets  Plastics  Roland Kádár  Santosh Pandit 

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MITO Material Solutions To Present at Industry Events and Conferences

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, February 24, 2020
MITO Materials, creator of hybrid polymer modifiers that increase the durability, flexibility, and performance of polymer composites, is announcing that the Company will take part three different industry conferences and events this Spring.

Since participating in The Heritage Group accelerator powered by Techstars in Indianapolis, IN, MITO Materials has seen a significant increase in customer on boarding for product integration into various fiber-reinforced thermoset and thermoplastic components as well as graphene-enhanced coatings. Performance data from these customers indicate that MITO’s products could extend the limitations and improve recyclability of materials used in high performance applications.

Caio Lo Sardo, Head of Business Development, says, “We are committed to engaging with customers pushing the boundaries with their current offerings to offer a better tomorrow, together.Our product offerings will further enable formulators and manufacturers to make their fiber-reinforced thermosets and thermoplastics a more viable, higher performing option.

MITO Materials will take part in six leading international industry events:

• JEC World 2020, based in Paris, France (3-5 March 2020)
• Open Minds (19-21 March 2020)
• The American Coatings Show, based in Indianapolis (30 March – 02 April 2020)
• Bicentennial Sponsored Conference: Beyond Boundaries: Indiana Academies Symposium (3-4 April 2020)
• World Adhesives Conference (20-22 April 2020)
• SAMPE 2020, based in Seattle (4-7 May 2020), Dr. Bhishma Sedai will be presenting a technology paper at this event.

Tags:  Caio Lo Sardo  coatings  Graphene  MITO Material Solutions  Plastics  Polymer 

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Future Surrey research stars backed with grants totaling £1 million by EPSRC

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Updated: Friday, April 26, 2019

Surrey University has recently seen four successful New Investigator Award applications - including projects that look at new techniques to better understand the movements of plastics in our oceans, an investigation into the next generation of dental materials, a project looking to develop a game-changing carbon capture material and security protocols for future communications networks.

Predicting the fate of our plastics

Dr Thomas Bond, Lecturer from Surrey’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was granted over £260,000 to develop his research that will better predict the location of plastic litter in the environment. It is not known where 99 percent of the ocean’s plastic litter is, making it difficult to deal with this catastrophic environmental problem. Dr Bond will be looking at how different commonly used plastics behave and he will be using several experimental tests to develop methods that predict the fate of plastics polluting our waters.

Dr Bond said: “The amount of plastic litter in the environment is growing rapidly. Its presence poses a severe threat to marine and freshwater life. However, at the heart of our knowledge of plastic litter lies a black hole. I hope this project will give us a clearer picture of what happens to plastic waste in the environment. We will also investigate whether promoting sustainable types of plastics may obviate the problem of plastic litter in the environment.”

Next generation of dental material

Dr Tan Sui, Lecturer in Materials Engineering from the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, was given just over £250,000 to investigate the next generation of dental materials that could be key to improving oral restorative surgeries. Together with the Universities of Bristol and Birmingham, the National Physical Laboratory and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Dr Sui will look to create a material that acts and performs like natural dental materials, with improved longevity.

Dr Tan Sui said: “Thanks to the advances of science and medicine we are all living longer but, unfortunately, our teeth are not faring so well. We hope this project will give us a deep understanding of novel dental materials, especially zirconia-based composites, with bioinspired functionally graded and textured microstructures -- and of how through refinement they may be durable enough to become the optimal dental restorative products.”

Carbon capture

Dr Marco Sacchi, Royal Society University Research Fellow, was awarded £230,000 to develop a computational research project that will reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of materials for carbon capture. In his project, Dr Sacchi will use Graphene, a newly discovered “miracle” material that has promising physical and thermal properties. The project will see Dr Sacchi join forces with a multidisciplinary team of chemists, nanotechnologists and physicists in industry and academia to test Graphene’s scientific boundaries and whether it can be used to entrap and treat greenhouse gases.

Dr Sacchi said: “Climate change is the biggest challenge that faces our planet today. It is an incredibly complex problem that requires teamwork from across the scientific spectrum to find sustainable solutions. We believe that by combining theoretical modelling with experimental validation, material testing and applied catalysis we will be able test the boundaries of Graphene and maximise its societal impact.”

Cybersecurity

Dr Ioana Boureanu, Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Surrey Centre for Cyber Security, was awarded just under £300,000 for the Automatic Verification of Complex Privacy Requirements in Unbounded-Size Secure Systems (AutoPaSS) project. AutoPaSS will develop formal methods and software-tools needed to analyse security and, especially, privacy in modern communications systems. AutoPaSS is in collaboration with industrial partners Thales and Vector GB Ltd.

Dr Boureanu said: “Today's devices execute concurrently in numerous and hyper-connected ways. So, we need reliable system-analysis techniques that capture not only cybersecurity properties but also modern connectivity. Importantly, this becomes an even bigger challenge if one needs to faithfully analyse rich privacy properties, such as anonymity and users’ untraceability. AutoPaSS will address this gap in the formal verification of 2020s' secure systems such as those driven by Internet of Things and connected, smart cars.”

Professor David Sampson, Vice-Provost, Research and Innovation, said: “These fantastic projects show that the University of Surrey is generating a wealth of bold, novel and innovative research ideas that have the potential to change everyday lives and the health of the planet. I want to congratulate our up-and-coming academics on their first steps into leading a research project. As a University, we are committed to supporting them and we wish them every success in these first steps towards an independent research career.”

Tags:  David Sampson  Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council  Graphene  Ioana Boureanu  Marco Sacchi  Plastics  Tan Sui  Thomas Bond  University of Surrey 

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2D Fluidics Pty Ltd created to launch the Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD)

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Friday, June 22, 2018

 

Advanced materials company, First Graphene Limited (“FGR” or “the Company”) (ASX: FGR) is pleased to announce the launch of its 50%-owned associate company, 2D Fluidics Pty Ltd, in collaboration with Flinders University’s newly named Flinders Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology

 

The initial objective of 2D Fluidics will be the commercialisation of the Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD), invented by the Flinders Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology’s Professor Colin Raston. The VFD enables new approaches to producing a wide range of materials such as graphene and sliced carbon nanotubes, with the bonus of not needing to use harsh or toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process (which is required for conventional graphene and shortened carbon nanotube production). 

 

This clean processing breakthrough will also greatly reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of manufacturing these new high quality super-strength carbon materials. The key intellectual property used by 2D Fluidics comprises two patents around the production of carbon nanomaterials, assigned by Flinders University. 

 

2D Fluidics will use the VFD to prepare these materials for commercial sales, which will be used in the plastics industry for applications requiring new composite materials, and by the electronics industry for circuits, supercapacitors and batteries, and for research laboratories around the world.

 

2D Fluidics will also manufacture the VFD, which is expected to become an in-demand state-of-the-art research and teaching tool for thousands of universities worldwide, and should be a strong revenue source for the new company. 

 

Managing Director, Craig McGuckin said “First Graphene is very pleased to be partnering Professor Raston and his team in 2D Fluidics, which promises to open an exciting growth path in the world of advanced materials production. Access to this remarkably versatile invention will complement FGRs position as the leading graphene company at the forefront of the graphene revolution.” 

 

Professor Colin Raston AO FAA, Professor of Clean Technology, Flinders Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology, Flinders University said “The VFD is a game changer for many applications across the sciences, engineering and medicine, and the commercialisation of the device will have a big impact in the research and teaching arena,” Nano-carbon materials can replace metals in many products, as a new paradigm in manufacturing, and the commercial availability of such materials by 2D Fluidics will make a big impact. It also has exciting possibilities in industry for low cost production where the processing is under continuous flow, which addresses scaling up - often a bottleneck issue in translating processes into industry.

Tags:  2D Fluidics  batteries  Carbon Nanotubes  circuits  Composites  electronics  First Graphene  Graphene  Plastics  research laboratories  supercapacitors  Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD) 

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Graphene Council Champions Graphene Standards

Posted By Dexter Johnson, The Graphene Council, Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Graphene Council has consistently been spearheading the development of standards around graphene. This is for good reason.

Ask just about any company involved in bringing graphene and graphene-enabled products to market—as we have—and  you will quickly realize that all these organizations consider standardization of the material as a critical need for the wider adoption of graphene.

To further heighten awareness of this issue, The Graphene Council recently contributed an article  to The Graphene Technology Journal published by Springer and Nature in which we conducted an interview with Norbert Fabricius, who is one of the leading authorities on the development of standards around graphene.

Of course, we have also interviewed our own Executive Director, Terrance Barkan, on how the industry can collectively accelerate the development of standards for graphene.  

After all this effort, others are beginning to seek us out to learn more about the development of standards related to graphene. In an interview with SciTech Europa, Barkan provides an in-depth look at where standards for graphene are now and their importance going forward. 

In this interview, Barkan references the Global Graphene Industry Survey and Report produced by The Graphene Council that even two years after its publication remains the most extensive survey of producers and users of graphene. Barkan also references some of the recent groundbreaking work that the Council is doing in educating the industry into how graphene can best be used in composites and plastics.

It appears the word is getting out about the quality of the studies and projects the Council has undertaken over the years in leading industry efforts from standards to health and safety issues and promoting greater understanding of how graphene fits into the value chain of a range of industries

Tags:  composites  health and safety  plastics  Standards  survey 

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