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Graphene@Manchester at The University of Manchester

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, March 25, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2019

Graphene@Manchester at The University of Manchester is an on-going programme of activity to ensure that Manchester and the UK play a leading international role in developing the revolutionary potential of graphene.

Graphene@Manchester is creating a critical mass of graphene and 2D materials expertise made up of scientists, manufacturers, engineers, innovators, investors and industrialists to build a thriving knowledge-based economy.   

At the heart the vision is the National Graphene Institute and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), multi-million pound facilities with a commitment fostering strong industry-academic collaborations.   

The Graphene Council is a proud founding Affiliate Member of the GEIC, providing access to a word class facility and the graphene experts at the University of Manchester. 

Graphene@Manchester is home to an unrivalled breadth of expertise across 30 academic groups. This expertise gives us the ability to take graphene applications from basic research to finished product.   

Graphene is a disruptive technology; one that could open up new markets and even replace existing technologies or materials. From transport, medicine, electronics, energy, and water filtration, the range of industries where graphene research is making an impact is substantial.   

Graphene has the potential to create the next-generation of electronics currently limited to science fiction. Our facilities provide dedicated equipment to develop and produce inks and formulations for printed and flexible electronics, wearables and coatings.

Tags:  2D materials  coatings  Graphene  University of Manchester 

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Micro and nano materials, including clothing for Olympic athletes

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, March 25, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 25, 2019
A research team of materials engineers and performance scientists at Swansea University has been awarded £1.8 million to develop new products - in areas from the motor industry to packaging and sport - that make use of micro and nano materials based on specialist inks.

One application already being developed is specialist clothing that will be worn by elite British athletes in training and at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The researchers will be incorporating advanced materials such as graphene into flexible coatings which will be printed and embedded into bespoke garments to enhance the performance of elite athletes.

The purpose of the project is to serve as a pipeline for new ideas, testing to see which of them can work in practice and on a large scale, and then turning them into actual products.

The gap between initial concept and final product is known in manufacturing as the "valley of death" as so many good ideas simply fail to make it. The pipeline will help ensure more of them make it across the valley: off the drawing board and into production.

This project is unique in that it is driven by market requirements. As well as the wearable technology, identified by the English Institute of Sport (EIS), two other areas will be amongst the first to use the pipeline: SMART packaging, with the company Tectonic, and the car industry, with GTS Flexible Materials

The project is a collaboration between two teams in Swansea University's College of Engineering: the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) led by Professor Tim Claypole and Professor David Gethin, and the Elite and Professional Sport (EPS) research group, namely Dr Neil Bezodis, Professor Liam Kilduff and Dr Camilla Knight.

The WCPC is pioneering ways of using printing with specialist inks as an advanced manufacturing process. Their expertise will be central to the project.

Professor Tim Claypole, Director of the Wales Centre for Printing and Coating, said:

"The WCPC expertise in ink formulation and printing is enabling the creation of a range of advanced products for a wide range of applications that utilise innovative materials".

Sport, which is one of the areas the project covers, has been a test bed for technology before. For example, heart rate monitors and exercise bikes have now become mainstream.

EPS project lead Dr Neil Bezodis underlined the importance of links with partners within the overall project:

"Collaborations between industrial partners which are driven by end users in elite sport are key to ensuring our research has a real impact".

Tags:  Camilla Knight  coatings  David Gethin  Graphene  Liam Kilduff  nanomaterials  Neil Bezodis  sporting goods  Swansea University  Tim Claypole  Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating 

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Applied Graphene Materials creates graphene-enhanced anti-corrosion paint primer.

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Thursday, December 27, 2018

Applied Graphene Materials, originally spun out of Durham University and now based in Redcar, is creating a new range of graphene-enhanced anti-corrosion aerosols for James Briggs.

AGM say the completion of its first production batch is a "significant milestone" and they now plan to work towards a full product launch.

Based at the Wilton Centre, near Redcar, AGM makes powdered graphene, with the substance hailed by some experts as being capable of conducting electricity a million times better than copper, despite being as thin as human hair.

The business has developed a form of graphene it says can deliver a six-fold improvement in barrier and anti-corrosion properties, with James Briggs expected to use the product in primers to offer greater protection from weathering.

Bosses claim testing had demonstrated "repeated improvements in anti-corrosion performance".

Bryan Dobson, chairman of Applied Graphene Materials, said: "The Board continues to focus on the commercialisation of its products and proprietary technologies via its numerous active engagements and has made good progress in recent months.

"I am pleased to report that we have recently achieved a key milestone, having fulfilled the scale-up production purchase order from James Briggs Ltd in preparation for full product launch.

"JBL has successfully completed its first production batch which is a significant milestone for commercial realisation. Extensive testing has demonstrated repeated and outstanding improvements in anti-corrosion performance for JBL’s automotive aerosol primer. JBL plans to launch their new range of graphene enhanced anti-corrosion aerosols under their Hycote brand."

Mr Dobson als said the firm was pleased to participate in the opening of the UK’s Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) in Manchester last week.

"Meeting with multiple participants, the opportunities for graphene technology remain buoyant," he said.

"Finding practical application solutions for the challenges surrounding the exploitation of graphene nanoplatelet technology is the key focus of AGM’s strategy for commercial progress.

"We look forward to working closely with GEIC in the months ahead in the further development of world-class application solutions."

James Briggs was founded almost two centuries ago and they have the capacity to distribute up to 150 million aerosols. 

Tags:  Applied Graphene Materials  coatings  Corrosion  graphene  Hycote  James Briggs  Paint 

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Novel Production Technique Offers Start-up New Approach to Markets

Posted By Dexter Johnson, IEEE Spectrum, Thursday, December 20, 2018

California-based NTherma is leveraging a proprietary graphene production method based on the unzipping of multiwalled carbon nanotubes into graphene nanoplatelets or nanoribbons.

The backgrounds of NTherma’s co-founders Cattien V. Nguyen, President & CEO, and Thuy Ngo, VP Business Developments & Investor Relations, cover both the science of graphene as well as its business development. Nguyen’s background contains some of the heavy hitters in nanomaterials research over the last 20 years: IBM Almaden Research Center and Stanford University.

With their manufacturing process offering a high degree of customization, NTherma is targeting applications that exploit this inherent flexibility that other manufacturing techniques can’t so easily deliver on.

As a new Corporate Member of The Graphene Council, we got the opportunity to ask them about how they are approaching the market with their novel manufacturing technique, some of the challenges they are facing and how they plan to overcome them.

 Q: Could you provide us more details about your method for producing graphene? It appears from your website that it may be a bottom-up approach. Is it a CVD-enabled process or direct chemical synthesis? And what kind of graphene does it produce?

Our graphene production method is different from the two current production processes.  We don't produce graphene by CVD of single layer directly on a metal substrate and we don't produce graphene by exfoliating graphite.  Both of these production methods have a number of tradeoffs including cost, purity, and control of structural parameters.

NTherma's unique approach to the production of graphene starts with our patent-pending method of producing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that have high purity and high degree control of lengths and diameters, and most importantly a much lower production cost.  NTherma's graphene is then derived by the chemical conversion of high quality CNTs. 

Depending on the degree of chemical oxidation process, the produced graphene can be nanoplatelets or nanoribbons, or a combination of the two types.  Our ability to control the CNT length and their high purity together translates to high quality graphene at a much lower cost.  Of particularly importance is the availability of graphene nanoribbons at a large scale with controlled length, high purity, and much lower cost. This will open up a number of applications not currently feasible with commercially available graphene.

Could you let us know what applications you are targeting for your graphene? And can you tell us a bit about how you came to target these applications?

We are currently focusing on the following applications:

1.  Graphene for Oil Additives:  These reduce engine friction, improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions.  We differentiate our graphene as an oil additive in that our graphene forms a stable dispersion in oil with a demonstrated shelf life of greater than 12 months.

2.  Coatings:  There are many coating applications employing graphene and currently we are working with a few partners to integrate our graphene products.  We are also focusing on applications such as touchscreen and display as well as smart windows that other graphene materials have not been able to effectively address. 

3.  Lithium-ion (Li-ion) Batteries:  Preliminary test results are positive.  We're looking for partners to continue developing and testing the process. 

Because of our unique customization ability, we can alter length, layers and uniformity of our graphene per customers' requests.  Realizing that our high quality and consistent materials can unlock previous bottlenecks that other graphene products couldn't resolve, we chose these applications in the order provided as we see these applications and markets having the highest potential and where our technology will have the highest impact.

You are also producing multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). How do you see this fitting with your graphene production?

We produce MWCNTs for several other applications such as thermal management and also carbon nanotube yarns in development with a commercial partner. 

We also produce our graphene by the chemical conversion of MWNTs.

Is your strategy to remain a graphene and MWCNT producer, or do you see yourself moving further up the value chain to make devices from these materials?

We will focus on scaling up the production of high quality MWCNTs and graphene for the near future.  At the same time, we are developing, or have plans to develop, other applications and markets by ourselves or with partners in order to add more value to our business by strategically positioning our unique technology in a variety of verticals.

What do you see as the greatest challenge for your business in making an impact the commercialization of graphene, i.e. customer education, lack of standards, etc.? And what do you believe can be done to overcome these challenges?

The greatest challenges as a business for us have been our efforts to work with the end users and to understand as well as to educate the potential customers of our unique graphene products for any particular applications and product development processes.  Not all graphene products are the same in their purity, structural parameters such as size and number of layers, and cost.  These facts have to be made known to the end users and have to match with the end user's specific application.

Additionally, we also have to overcome clients' negative experiences with using other producers' inconsistent quality products.  We have to resolve these issues by continuing to work closely with our potential customers and partners by helping them to understand the materials and also optimizing and testing products for specific applications ourselves to provide clients with testing procedures and data (both in a lab environment and in real life).

Tags:  carbon nanotubes  coatings  CVD  Li-ion batteries  lubricants 

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