Mr. Tom Donaldson, President, Signet International Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Signet Graphene Technologies, Inc. (SGT), announced recently that the company has executed a contract with Florida International University (FIU) to further the development and commercialization of a new deicing technology enhanced by graphene, the revolutionary carbon-based nanotechnology.
Adhesion of ice to the surfaces of aircraft in inclement weather severely compromises aircraft aerodynamic performance. Time-consuming airport deicing operations are performed for safety, causing extensive flight delays for travelers and a heavy financial burden for the airline industry. Airport Lifestyle magazine notes that the average cost of deicing a passenger aircraft is over $7,000 per coating.
A team of engineers at Florida International University headed up by Professor Arvind Agarwal, PhD, Chair of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and his team in Plasma Forming Laboratory: Ms Jenniffer Bustillos, Dr. Cheng Zhang and Dr. Benjamin Boesl have developed a graphene foam−polymer composite with superior deicing efficiency and strength. A patent for the technology will be issued on Jan. 22, 2019.
The graphene-foam polymer composite provides lightweight coatings and free-standing components with heating abilities, with exceptional thermal stability. The graphene reinforcement also increases the tensile strength of the polymer coating on the aircraft and reduces the impact of nasty toxic chemical runoff seeping into the ground and water.
The patent application entitled, “Three Dimensional Graphene Foam Reinforced Composite Coating & Deicing Systems Therefrom,” was a result of research conducted by a grant from the U.S. Army Research Office. Signet Graphene Technologies, Inc., intends to further develop the technology and make it ready for mass production. This invention is expected to have a major impact on the aircraft deicing market, which, according to Opus Materials Technologies, the U.S. spends over $1.30 billion in deicing fluids alone.
“This contract marks the first of an exciting ongoing relationship with FIU,” says Donaldson. “This invention is the solution to a very practical problem in air transportation. Critically low temperature conditions are the reasons delays are imminent, costing the airlines and travelers time and money. Although our focus is on time and safety in the airline industry, we are discovering an abundance of uses for this technology. In fact, we are exploring applied applications in solving icing conditions from icy steps; turbine blades and their mechanics, helicopter rotor blades; even private home uses and other subzero problems.”
“It is a pleasure to be associated with FIU,” says Ernest Letiziano, CEO, SIGN. “We were looking for applied use of graphene that can be made available to the public quickly; this invention is the answer to efficiency and toxic waste. The Army Grant technology has been achieved; we will take it from here.”