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Universities Minister celebrates Manchester’s materials reputation

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Advanced Materials were at the centre of the agenda for the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Chris Skidmore, last week during a thorough tour of The University of Manchester campus.

The Minister visited the University to discover more about the soon-to-open Henry Royce Institute, hear about the most recent graphene developments, discover more about how the AI and robotics are helping to solve challenges faced by the nuclear industry and finally tour the north campus and future home of IDManchester.

During the tour, the Minister, who was accompanied by President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, met with leading academics and discussed breakthrough developments at the University since he last visited the campus just over a year ago.

Professor Phil Withers greeted the Minister to discuss and take-in the the new soon-to-open £150m Royce building, a new national hub for advanced materials research and commercialisation.

During the visit Chris Skidmore said: “The University of Manchester is doing amazing research in areas like x-ray imaging systems and the super material graphene. Outstanding university research like this will help build our reputation as a global science superpower while growing our economy, and it was a privilege to witness it first-hand.”

The University of Manchester is doing amazing research in areas like x-ray imaging systems and the super material graphene. Outstanding university research like this will help build our reputation as a global science superpower while growing our economy, and it was a privilege to witness it first-hand, Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.

The delegation then visited state-of-the-art research facilities of the National Graphene Institute (NGI) with Professor Sir Andre Geim, who received a Nobel Prize for his work on initially isolating the two-dimensional (2D) material in 2004 and continues to explore and develop the untapped potential of related 2D materials in Manchester.

The NGI, along the with Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) forms the heart of Graphene City, an entire city-centre based end-to-end ecosystem to research, develop and commercialise unique graphene applications in tandem with industry.

A tour of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) was also on the agenda to visit the labs at the heart of the pioneering research led by Professor Nigel Scrutton and team which was recently honoured with the Queen's Anniversary Prize. The MIB was singled out as a beacon of excellence for being at the forefront of designing a sustainable future for the UK and communities across the world by developing disruptive bio-based technologies.

The visit concluded with the Minister heading to the RAIN project which uses robotic and AI technologies to solve challenges faced by the nuclear industry. It is led by Barry Lennox, Professor of Applied Control in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering,

Tags:  2D materials  Chris Skidmore  Dame Nancy Rothwell  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  Phil Withers  University of Manchester 

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New Chair in Materials Physics and Innovation Policy

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, January 21, 2020
The University of Manchester has appointed Richard Jones as a new Chair in Materials Physics and Innovation Policy, joining Manchester from the University of Sheffield.

Richard is an experimental soft matter physicist. His first degree and PhD in Physics both come from Cambridge University. Following postdoctoral work at Cornell University, USA, he was a lecturer at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, before moving to Sheffield in 1998. In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, in recognition of his work in the field of polymers and biopolymers at surfaces and interfaces, and in 2009 he won the Tabor Medal of the UK’s Institute of Physics for his contributions to nanoscience.

He is the author of more than 190 research papers, and three books, Polymers at Surfaces and Interfaces (with Randal Richards, CUP 1999), Soft Condensed Matter, (OUP 2002), and Soft Machines: Nanotechnology and Life (OUP 2004).

He was Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Sheffield from 2009 to 2016, was a member of EPSRC Council from 2013 – 2018, and chaired Research England’s Technical Advisory Group for the Knowledge Exchange Framework. He has written extensively about science and innovation policy, and was a member of the Sheffield/Manchester Industrial Strategy Commission.

Richard will join the Faculty of Science and Engineering and contribute to the pioneering work in advanced materials that is currently being carried out at Manchester. The University is home to several major national materials research centres including the National Graphene Institute, the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and the soon-to-open Henry Royce Institute for advanced materials research and innovation.

Richard is a greatly respected materials physicist who has also made very significant contributions to major national and international activities and to the areas of regional economic growth, productivity and prosperity. I am delighted that he will be joining us, President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell.

Richard said: “Manchester is one of the world’s great universities, whose research in many fields, including advanced materials, has international reach. In addition to its national importance, it plays a central role in driving economic growth and prosperity in the city and across the North of England. This is an exciting time to join The University of Manchester and I’m looking forward to being part of this important work.”

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester said: “Richard is a greatly respected materials physicist who has also made very significant contributions to major national and international activities and to the areas of regional economic growth, productivity and prosperity. I am delighted that he will be joining us.”

Professor Martin Schröder, Vice President and Dean of the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, added: “I am thrilled and delighted to welcome Professor Richard Jones to the University.

“Richard is a renowned experimental physicist with a focus on materials science, specialising in the properties at surfaces and interfaces. Richard has wider interests in the social and economic consequences of nanotechnology and has contributed significantly to innovation within the higher education sector. I very much look forward to working with Richard and developing and delivering new initiatives across science and engineering.”

Tags:  Dame Nancy Rothwell  Graphene  Martin Schröder  Richard Jones  University of Manchester 

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Mayor praises Manchester model of innovation as graphene applications gain real pace

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, January 13, 2020
Andy Burnham, Mayor for Greater Manchester, made a fact-finding tour of facilities that are pioneering graphene innovation at The University of Manchester.

The Mayor toured the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) which is an industry-facing facility specialising in the rapid development and scale up of graphene and other 2D materials applications.

As well as state-of-the art labs and equipment, the Mayor was also shown examples of commercialisation – including the world’s first-ever sports shoes to use graphene which has been produced by specialist sports footwear company inov-8 who are based in the North.

Andy Burnham – a running enthusiast who has previously participated in a number of marathons – has promised to put a pair of graphene trainers to the test and feedback his own experiences to researchers based at The University of Manchester.

Manchester is the home of graphene - and when you see the brilliant work and the products now being developed with the help of the Graphene@Manchester team it’s clear why this city-region maintains global leadership in research and innovation around this fantastic advanced material, Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor.

By collaborating with graphene experts in Manchester, inov-8 has been able to develop a graphene-enhanced rubber which they now use for outsoles in a new range of running and fitness shoes. In testing, the groundbreaking G-SERIES shoes have outlasted 1,000 miles and are scientifically proven to be 50% stronger, 50% more elastic and 50% harder wearing.

“Manchester is the home of graphene - and when you see the brilliant work and the products now being developed with the help of the Graphene@Manchester team it’s clear why this city-region maintains global leadership in research and innovation around this fantastic advanced material,” said Andy Burnham.

“I have been very impressed with the exciting model of innovation the University has pioneered in our city-region, with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre playing a vital role by working with its many business partners to take breakthrough science from the lab and apply it to real world challenges.

“And thanks to world firsts, like the graphene running shoe, the application of graphene is now gaining real pace. In fact, the experts say we are approaching a tipping point for graphene commercialisation – and this is being led right here in Greater Manchester.”

Tags:  2D materials  Andy Burnham  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  inov-8  sporting goods  University of Manchester 

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Energy levels in electrons of 2D materials are mapped for the first time

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, January 9, 2020
Researchers based at the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester have developed an innovative measurement method that allows, for the first time, the mapping of the energy levels of electrons in the conduction band of semiconducting 2D materials.

Writing in Nature Communications, a team led by Dr Roman Gorbachev reports the first precise mapping of the conduction band of 2D indium selenide (InSe) using resonant tunnelling spectroscopy, to access the previously unexplored part of the electronic structure. They observed multiple subbands for both electrons and holes and tracked their evolution with the number of atomic layers in InSe.

Many emerging technologies rely on novel semiconductor structures, where the motion of electrons is restricted in one or more directions. Such confinement is in the nature of 2D materials and it is responsible for many of their new and exciting properties.

For instance, the colour of the emitted light shifts towards shorter wavelengths as they get thinner, analogous to quantum dots changing colour when their size is varied. As another consequence, the allowed energy available for the electrons in such materials, called conduction and valence bands, split into multiple subbands.

We hope this study will pave the way for exploration of intersubband transitions and lead to development of prototype optoelectronic devices with tuneable emission in the challenging terahertz range, Dr Roman Gorbachev.

Optical transitions between such subbands present a large potential for real-life applications as they provide optically active in terahertz and far-infrared ranges, which can be employed for security and communication technologies as light emitters or detectors.

Dr Roman Gorbachev said: “We hope this study will pave the way for exploration of intersubband transitions and lead to development of prototype optoelectronic devices with tuneable emission in the challenging terahertz range.”

Tags:  2D materials  Graphene  optoelectronics  Roman Gorbachev  Semiconductor  University of Manchester 

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Researcher’s break the geometric limitations of moiré pattern in graphene heterostructures

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Researchers at The University of Manchester have uncovered interesting phenomena when multiple two-dimensional materials are combined into van der Waals heterostructures (layered ‘sandwiches’ of different materials).

These heterostructures are sometimes compared to Lego bricks – where the individual blocks represent different atomically thin crystals, such as graphene, and stacked on top of each other to form new devices.

Published in Science Advances, the team focus on how the different crystals begin to alter one another’s fundamental properties when brought into such close proximity. Of particular interest is when two crystals closely match and a moiré pattern forms. This moiré pattern has been shown to affect a range of properties in an increasing list of 2D materials. However, typically the geometry of the moiré pattern places a restriction on the nature and size of the effect.

A moiré pattern is due to the mismatch and rotation between the layers of each materials which produces a geometric pattern similar to a kaleidoscope.

Our results push through the geometric limitation for these systems and therefore present new opportunities to see more of such science, as well as new avenues for applications.
Zihao Wang and Colin Woods, School of Natural Science

The team have broken this restriction by combining moiré patterns into composite ‘super-moiré’ in graphene both aligning to substrate and encapsulation hexagonal boron nitride. The researchers demonstrate the nature of these composite super-moiré lattices by showing band structure modifications in graphene in the low-energy regime. Furthermore, they suggest that the results could provide new directions for research and devices fabrication.

Zihao Wang and Colin Woods authors of the paper said: “In recent years moiré pattern have allowed the observation of many exciting physical phenomena, from new long-lived excitonic states, Hofstadter’s Butterfly, and superconductivity.

Our results push through the geometric limitation for these systems and therefore present new opportunities to see more of such science, as well as new avenues for applications.”

Tags:  2D materials  Colin Woods  Graphene  hexagonal boron nitride  University of Manchester  Zihao Wang 

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Graphene Industry Showcase in Manchester

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, December 16, 2019

This week Graphene@Manchester hosted a jam-packed two-day (10-11 December) event showcasing the hottest topics in the field of graphene.

The event saw over 100 delegates take to Manchester for a chance to find out how they can benefit from working with the one-atom-thick material.

Featuring talks from BAC, inov-8 and Lifesaver, delegates were able to witness first hand the practical applications of graphene and 2D materials.

The showcase also featured an exhibition of some of the newest products and prototypes using the revolutionary material such as water filtration devices and hydrogels used for crop production to suitcases and doormats as well as the BAC Mono R- the first production car to use graphene-enhanced carbon fibre in each body panel.

Delegates also had the opportunity to participate in practical hands on workshops in the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) focusing on subjects such as energy, printed electronics, health and safety and standards and characterisation.

James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester said: “We are now seeing rapid developments and an increasing change of pace over the last year, dramatically changing the graphene landscape. More products are entering the market using graphene and we’re starting to see real-world benefits living up to the early excitement of just a few years ago.

With the National Graphene Institute and GEIC, our infrastructure is designed to work in collaboration with industry partners to create, test and optimise new concepts for delivery to market.”

“We are now seeing rapid developments and an increasing change of pace over the last year, dramatically changing the graphene landscape.„

James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester

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Tuesday evening also offered a rare chance to hear from Nobel laureate Professor Sir Andre Geim, on his creative approach to scientific research, from levitating frogs to the fascinating phenomena of what happens to discarded graphite after graphene has been made.

The GEIC focuses on industry-led application development in partnership with academics. It will fill a critical gap in the graphene and 2D materials ecosystem by providing facilities which focus on pilot production, characterisation, together with application development in composites, energy, solution formulations and coatings, electronics and membranes.

Tags:  2D materials  Electronics  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  Healthcare  James Baker  University of Manchester 

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Entrepreneur has sustainability challenge covered - with a SpaceMat

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, December 12, 2019
An entrepreneurial academic from The University of Manchester has produced a prototype graphene-enhanced product that could help the UK recycle tonnes of unwanted tyres – a waste product that is sometimes shipped overseas for disposal.

It is claimed that Western countries like the UK export waste tyres to developing nations like India where they are destroyed by burning - and so impacting on the local environment.

Dr Vivek Koncherry has launched a company called SpaceBlue Ltd that aims to recycle waste tyres by converting them into attractive and extremely hardwearing floor mats which have been enhanced with tiny amounts of graphene.

The hexagon-shaped SpaceMat™ can interlock to cover any desired floor area. They can be used at the entrances of homes, offices, public and industrial buildings, as well as wider applications such as anti-fatigue or anti-slip coverings in areas like workplaces, gyms, playgrounds and swimming pools.

Prototype mats will be revealed at a Graphene Industry Showcase to be hosted on December 10 and 11 at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC). This two-day event aims to put a spotlight on innovations associated with graphene and two-dimensional materials and will therefore feature a wide range of pioneering products.

“The innovation ecosystem at Manchester has been really supportive to someone like me who has a new business idea they want to take to market,” explained Dr Koncherry, who is an expert in materials applications and new manufacturing techniques.

“It all began when I first read newspaper reports that several thousand tonnes of waste UK tyres are being shipped abroad each year for disposal. I thought that needs to change and I became determined to find a much more sustainable way of using this end-of-life product.

“The intention of SpaceBlue is to enhance the physical properties of recycled rubber waste that has come from discarded vehicle tyres or footwear - and convert this material into a high-value product,” explained Dr Koncherry.

“The intention of SpaceBlue is to enhance the physical properties of recycled rubber waste that has come from discarded vehicle tyres or footwear - and convert this material into a high-value product”
Dr Vivek Koncherry

“SpaceMat™ is made of up to 80 per cent recycled rubber plus 20 per cent of graphene-enhanced natural rubber. Floor mats undergo compression and a fundamental study had shown that by adding graphene into the rubber it can double the compression strength - and this in turn increases durability.”

James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, added: “Vivek’s vision to support a more sustainable society by creating a better performing product through the use of graphene is really exciting and has already generated interest.

“Moreover, we’re looking forward to collaborating with SpaceBlue via our ‘Bridging the Gap’ programme which will further support the development of the mats.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) the ‘Bridging the Gap’ initiative has been developed to proactively engage with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Greater Manchester and allow them to explore and apply graphene and other advanced two-dimensional materials in a wide range of applications and markets.

Tags:  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  James Baker  University of Manchester  Vivek Koncherry 

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Manchester researchers develop 2D dielectric inks suitable for print-in-place electronics

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, December 4, 2019
The team at The University of Manchester have produced a two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride ink which have been used to fabricate flexible thin-film transistors in collaboration with Duke University in North Carolina.

Published in ACS Nano, the team were able to develop insulating dielectric ink that is suitable for the print-in-place fabrication process, developed at Duke University for materials such as silver nanowires and semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Extending this process to include the hexagonal boron nitride ink led to the production of functional transistor devices, using both one and two-dimensional materials.

The use of printing technologies for flexible electronics has rapidly increased in prominence due to its simplicity, low cost and compatibility with a broad range of materials and substrates.

Currently there are a wide variety of printable functional inks, often made from organic-based materials or metal oxides, however, problems such as low carrier mobility, poor air stability, and the requirement for high processing temperatures are often encountered, limiting their application, the choice of printing method and the substrate which can be printed on.

Traditionally, there has been a particular lack of printable insulating materials that are functional without the use of high processing temperatures. Previous work carried out by the team at Duke had used silicon-based insulating materials, which are typically non-printable, rigid and brittle, thereby limiting the usage of devices in flexible electronic applications.

Using the insulating hexagonal boron nitride ink, the team were able to fully fabricate the thin-film transistors with carbon nanotube channel regions via direct-write aerosol jet printing onto flexible paper and plastic substrates in a print-in-place process, with the temperature always below 80°C. This processing temperature is one of the lowest ever reported for printed carbon nanotube-based thin-film transistors, yet the devices still show good electrical performance. The print-in-place aspect also removes the time and cost associated with the typical processing and treatment steps that are required to be performed outside of the printer.

“We had previously used our hexagonal boron nitride inks to inkjet print a graphene based transistor on paper. However, high performance transistors require a semiconducting channel, so we were pleased to see that our hexagonal boron nitride inks also perform very well in printed carbon nanotubes transistors made with the aerosol printer, showing the versatility of the hexagonal boron nitride inks in printed transistors.„
Professor Cinzia Casiraghi, Professor in Nanoscience

This paper is amongst the first reports on aerosol printing of 2D materials. Advantages of using aerosol jet printing compared to inkjet printing are the ability to print inks with a wide range of viscosity and surface tensions, in addition to the ability to print on complex surfaces.

Professor Cinzia Casiraghi who led the team at Manchester said: “We had previously used our hexagonal boron nitride inks to inkjet print a graphene based transistor on paper. However, high performance transistors require a semiconducting channel, so we were pleased to see that our hexagonal boron nitride inks also perform very well in printed carbon nanotubes transistors made with the aerosol printer, showing the versatility of the hexagonal boron nitride inks in printed transistors.”

Dr Aaron Franklin from Duke University said: “Nobody thought the aerosolized ink, especially for boron nitride, would deliver the properties needed to make functional electronics without being baked for at least an hour and a half. But not only did we get it to work, we showed that baking it for two hours after printing doesn’t improve its performance. It was as good as it could get just using our fully print-in-place process.”

The team from Duke University hope to use these inks to devise a fully print-in-place technique for electronics that is gentle enough to work on delicate surfaces including human skin.

The isolation of graphene at Manchester sparked a revolution in materials science and led to the classification of a host of other similar atomically thin materials such as hexagonal boron nitride, also known as ‘white graphene’.

But far more important is the way that these various types of 2D materials can be used as building blocks to create ‘designer materials’ or heterostructures with truly novel features on demand.

Tags:  2D materials  Aaron Franklin  ACS Nano  Cinzia Casiraghi  Duke University  Graphene  nanotubes  Nitride Ink  thin-film transistors  University of Manchester 

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Graphene Nanoplatelets: a future role in pipecoating?

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Pipelines constitute a major infrastructure investment frequently carrying materials which in the event of failure can cause significant loss to the owner and serious potential for environmental damage. To fulfil their role pipelines often run long distances either underwater or underground. This physical challenge is often further complicated by the crossing of international borders introducing complex codes and standards of management. Coatings are essential to the protection of pipelines from corrosion and subsequent failure but are themselves subject to degradation by severe abrasion, hydrothermal aging and chemical degradation. These coating systems are typically considered to be passive or active. Passive systems prevent corrosion by blocking key elements of water, oxygen and salts from reaching the pipe surface. Cathodic protection systems (CP) are reactive systems designed to protect pipelines in the event of failure.

Graphene was first produced and identified in 2004 by the group of Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselev at the University of Manchester, an event which was followed by the Nobel prize for Physics in 2010. One of the remarkable properties of graphene is its impermeability to gases. Graphene manufactured as a single monolayer is time consuming, expensive and difficult to scale. Graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) offer a cheap and scalable alternative for use in barrier systems. Much research has been carried out on the implementation and use of graphene in coatings including those for pipelines. Direct application of GNP into epoxy has been discussed by Battocchi et al (1) who observed that low level additions of GNP offered improved barrier properties and corrosion mitigation together with improved abrasion resistance. Budd et al(2) applied GNP in laminate structures for flexible risers demonstrating the potential barrier properties of graphene in aggressive conditions. Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) GNPs are manufactured using the company’s patented proprietary “bottom up” process, yielding high specification graphene materials. AGM produce a range of GNP dispersions capable of easy addition into coating systems and have undertaken significant development activity to demonstrate their use in coating systems enabling improved in barrier performance and corrosion resistance.

Corrosion Testing

Current organic coating systems designed for protective coatings applied in harsh environments, such as bridges, are typically comprised of a number of different coating layer, each providing a different set of properties. A basic system usually consists of three layers, which may include a zinc rich primer coat offering sacrificial protection, an intermediate coat and a final topcoat for environmental protection. Typical dry film thicknesses of these coats is around 50 to 150 µm for the primer and intermediate coat and 50 µm for the top coat. Recently it has been demonstrated that GNPs, both as prepared and chemically functionalised, when incorporated into an organic coating system or host matrix, provide via a highly tortuous path which acts to impede the movement of corrosive species towards the metal surface (Okafor et al[3) ) creating a passive corrosion protection mechanism. In support of this, previous work by Choi et al (4) has also shown that very small additions of GNPs decreased water vapour transmission rates indicating a barrier type property, while some authors Aneja et al(5) also report an electrochemical activity provided by graphene within coatings. The introduction of GNPsinto the intermediate coat has recently been demonstrated by AGM(6) to increase significantly the impedance of a protective coating system as measured by EIS when studied in conjunction with Neutral Salt Spray testing (ASTM B117). The intermediate epoxy was formulated as shown below in Table 1.

Three different GNP-containing variants of the control were prepared (D1-D3) using the same initial preparation route as for the epoxy prototype base, by substituting commercially available GNPcontaining dispersion additives (formulation component 10) for epoxy in the final step (formulation component 9). The GNP dispersion additives were effectively treated as masterbatches, and were added in varying amounts according to their graphene content and the final GNP content specified in the end coating (Table 1). The dispersion used in the preparation of D1 and D3 contained a reduced graphene oxide type GNPs (A-GNP10). The dispersions used in the preparation of D2 contained GNPs of a ‘crumpled sheet’ type morphology with a relatively low density and high surface area (A-GNP35). In addition, dispersion D3 based on A-GNP10 contained an active corrosion inhibitor.

Prior to coating application, all substrates were degreased using acetone. Each first coat was applied to grit blasted mild steel CR4 grade panels (Impress North East Ltd.), of dimensions 150 x 100 x 2mm, by means of a gravity fed conventional spray gun. The over coating interval was 3 hours with all panels permitted a final curing period of 7 days at 23°C (+/-2°C). Dry film thickness of the prepared coatings were in the range of 50-60 microns for single coat samples and 150-160 microns for multi coat samples. Full details of the coating systems prepared can be seen in Table 2. All substrates were backed and edged prior to testing.

The panels were placed in a Neutral Salt Spray corrosion chamber, running ISO 9227 for a period of up to 1440 hours. This test method consists of a continuous salt spray mist at a temperature of 35°C. Panels were assessed at 10 day (240 hour intervals) for signs of blistering, corrosion, and corrosion creep in accordance with ISO4628. These assessments were complimented with electrochemical measurements, carried out at the same intervals. All electrochemical measurements were recorded using a Gamry 1000E potentiostat in conjunction with a Gamry ECM8 multiplexer to permit the concurrent testing of up to 8 samples per run. Each individual channel was connected to a Gamry PCT1 paint test cell, specifically designed for the electrochemical testing of coated metal substrates.

Figure 1 shows the progression of impedance modulus for the three coat system samples, measured at 0.1 Hz, over the time period during which the samples were subjected to NSS conditions. Initial impedance values (recorded at t=0) range from the orders of 108 to 1010 Ω.cm2 . The control sample, consisting of a zinc rich primer coat, a layer of commercial equivalent epoxy and polyurethane topcoat, displays the lowest overall impedance values in addition to one of the higher rates of decrease of impedance from the t=0 point. When GNPs are introduced to the intermediate layer, the impedance modulus is increased suggesting that the inclusion of GNPs is acting to increase the barrier performance properties of the system as a whole. The incorporation of A-GNP35 into D2 gave a final system uplift of 5 orders of magnitude above the control. Throughout the testing the D2 formulation showed little change in impedance, compared to the other samples. The achievement of >109 Ohm.cm2 @ 0.1Hz over a period of 1440 hours in neutral salt spray outperformed existing technology in barrier performance equating to a C5 high rating for salt spray performance according to ISO12944-1.

The choice of coating system for pipelines is typically influenced by the geographical region and is often made between thick or thin film build. Critical requirements of coatings in either case are:

• Excellent adhesion

• Low permeability

• Resistance to cathodic disbondment

• High electrical resistance

Thin build coating systems are typically based on Fusion Bonded Epoxy (FBE) either single or double layer being the preferred approach in the North American market. Alternatives might also include high build epoxy or polyurethane. Typically such thin build systems utilise an active CP system to provide additional corrosion protection. Graphene modification as shown by Battochi(1) and by AGM(6) might easily be incorporated into such epoxy or polyurethane systems through the use of AGM’s dispersions. The known electrical conductivity of Graphene might give cause for concern if the incorporation changes the insulating characteristics of the film. The GNP modification demonstrated by AGM is however substantially below the percolation threshold required for conductivity and the net impact on epoxy conductivity is considered negligible (Figure 2).

Thick build coating systems used in other parts of the world are typically 3 layer polyolefin (3LPO and might be polyethylene or polypropylene). AGM has experience in master-batching Graphene into thermoplastics and as such there is no obstacle to the introduction of GNPs into of the main body of the coating. GNP might also be introduced into the adhesive copolymer layer applied to the FBE typically used as a base for the 3LPO coating system.

Tags:  Andre Geim  Applied Graphene Materials  Coatings  Graphene  hydrothermal  Konstantin Novoselev  Nanoplatelets  Pipelines  Pipes  University of Manchester 

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Colloids funds graphene nanocomposites collaborative Ph.D research project with The University of Manchester

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, October 17, 2019
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2019
Colloids Group, a leading manufacturer of innovative masterbatches, compounds, and performance enhancing additives, is funding a joint collaborative Ph.D. research project with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at The University of Manchester. The centre specialises in the rapid development and scale up of graphene and other 2D materials applications and focuses on several application areas to rapidly accelerate the development and commercialisation of new graphene technologies.The GEIC is an industry-led innovation centre, designed to work in collaboration with industry partners to create, test and optimise new concepts for delivery to market, along with the processes required for scale up and supply chain integration.

Phase 1 of this collaborative project was successfully completed within 12 months. Phase 2, which is about to start, is expected to be a three to four year research project. For this next phase, Colloids is funding and supporting a full time Ph.D. researcher who will be based at University of Manchester with the Advanced nanomaterials Group led by Dr. Mark A. Bissett and Professor Ian A. Kinloch. The Ph.D. researcher will also be working with and supervised by key Colloids’ R & D people involved in the project.  

The potential benefits of 2D thermoplastic nanocomposites have long been recognized. The project team will investigate the applicability of nanocomposites based on graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) materials to a broad range of thermoplastic materials, including polyolefins, polyamides and polyesters, and to understand how mechanical, thermal, electrical, rheological and gas-barrier properties (among others) are affected by the production process and by the materials used.  

The main goal of this collaborative Ph.D. research project is to develop and upscale new polymer-graphene nanocomposites with enhanced properties and multifunctional capabilities that are not currently available. Key target markets for ‘next generation’graphene nanocomposite Colloids products include automotive, aerospace, electronics and electrical.

As the research project is through Graphene@Manchester, the collaborative project teambenefits from access to the extensive graphene research facilities at The University of Manchester: the National Graphene Institute (NGI), the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), and theHenry Royce Institute. The University of Manchesteris a globally recognized centre of excellence for cutting edge graphene research, building upon the published work by Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for isolating, characterising and contacting ground-breaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene.

Colloids Group is exhibiting with parent company, TOSAF Group Ltd. (Booth# Hall 8a / D01) at the K’19 Plastics & Rubber exhibition in Dusseldorf, Germany, which runs from 16-23 October 2019. Show visitors from companies interested in the graphene nanocomposites collaborative project can speak with technical people from the Colloids’ team who will be at the show.

Tags:  2D materials  Colloids Group  Graphene  Ian A. Kinloch  Mark A. Bissett  nanocomposites  nanomaterials  polymers  University of Manchester 

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