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Graphene Properties and Uses in Research and Development (R&D)

Posted by: Simon Dodd on

graphene properties and uses in industry

What is Graphene?

This remarkable new material that was first isolated at the University of Manchester is not unlike preceding breakthroughs that Greater Manchester is recognised for around the world.

It is fair to say, Manchester is the ‘Home of Graphene.’

This exciting new material will literally change the world and the course of humanities future.

It is the first of a potentially growing line of ‘2D’ materials that are already showing fantastic potential for the development of new or enhancement of existing commercial products.

In scientific terms, graphene is an ‘allotrope’ form of carbon comprised of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice.

As with all new science, this material does have its detractors however in the most part they were too quick to disregard this ground-breaking innovative new material that is primed to change industry and the world forever.

There are countless tales throughout history where the uses of a particular thing were not immediately obvious, although when applied in the right way it’s like a ‘eureka’ moment when the potential is realised.

The potential for industry with this futuristic material is vast and in the remainder of this article we seek to highlight the many benefits with the intention we can help stimulate UK businesses to embrace this new technology, and those that do who try to establish how and where it can advance science, technology and industry will be handsomely rewarded by the UK Government via its lucrative R&D Tax Credits incentive.

How Graphene Will Change The World

Graphene is unique and possesses many magnificent properties that can be leveraged by commercial organisations to enhance their products, materials, devices, components and many other areas of business.


Graphene Properties

Tick Box Bullet Point Thinnest Imaginable Material

Tick Box Bullet Point Strongest Material Ever Measured (Theoretical Limit)

Tick Box Bullet Point Stiffest Known Material (Stiffer Than Diamond)

Tick Box Bullet Point Most Stretchable Crystal (Up to 20% Elastically)

Tick Box Bullet Point Record Thermal Conductivity (Outperforming Diamond)

Tick Box Bullet Point Highest Current Density at Room T (Million Times of Those in Copper)

Tick Box Bullet Point Highest Intrinsic Mobility ((100 Times More Than in Silicon (Si))

Tick Box Bullet Point Conducts Electricity in the Limit of No Electrons

Tick Box Bullet Point Lightest Charge Carriers (Zero Rest Mass)

Tick Box Bullet Point Longest Mean Free Path at Room T (Micron Range)

Tick Box Bullet Point Most Impermeable (Even He Atoms Cannot Squeeze Through)

For more detail on the properties of Graphene, follow this link.

Although the benefits are many, still more needs to be done in the UK to build a viable infrastructure to make high-grade Graphene available and at scale.

Graphene Uses

Commercial organisations in the UK have a fantastic opportunity before them to embrace this new technology that can become the catalyst to further reinforce UK brands on the world stage post-Brexit.

The commercialisation of Graphene is still a relative chrysalis, but there is a global race developing to capitalise on the truly unique graphene properties already identified.

Some circles falsely believe China is leading the world with the development of commercial applications with regards to graphene, however it might not be prudent to simply measure that based on the number of patents registered.

Manufacturers should seek to understand the potential of this new materials properties so that they can make better commercial use of it.

Currently, the Government of the UK provides a valuable form of tax relief for businesses who commence projects working with Graphene.

Yes its true, not only can your business pursue a commercial advantage, but this advantage will be a global advantage in that the material is so new the likelihood is no other business will have done what you have anywhere else in the world.

Potential Applications
Graphene in the Aerospace Industry
Aerospace Companies

Aircraft and their many components can be made substantially lighter, whilst being stronger and more durable.

Graphene in Architecture

Architects could make use of graphene in advanced building projects in a variety of ways.

Graphene in Clothing Manufacture
Clothing Manufacturers

Is there any benefit to developing hybrid clothing materials?

Graphene in the Construction Industry
Construction Companies

There exists to make building materials or plant and machinery with many advanced properties.

Graphene in Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineers

The super conductivity of Graphene must not be overlooked by electrical engineers.

Graphene in Electronics Manufacturing
Electronics Manufacturers

The super-conductivity and very low weight of Graphene must not be overlooked by electronics manufacturers.

It is a very effective electrical conductor with fantastic thermal conductivity properties too.

Graphene in the Food and Drink industry
Food/Drink Manufacturers

Production machinery and packaging could benefit.

Machinery down-time costs the UK manufacturing sector a lot of money with many still having compulsory ‘downtime’ to replace parts prone to wear and failure.

Graphene presents an opportunity to make parts that last longer, presenting increased output opportunities for firms.

Packaging utilising graphene will be stronger and lighter.

This very fact has spin-off potential too like making the cost of transporting goods cheaper and greener as less fuel is used.

Motor Industry
Motor Industry

Many parts in vehicles could be made of Graphene making the finished car lighter. This will make the car quicker, and also increase MPG.

Motor Sport Companies

Many parts in vehicles could be made of Graphene making the finished car lighter. This will make the car quicker, and also increase MPG.

Pharmaceuticals Industry
Pharmaceutical Companies

According to a study recently published in the journal Chem, graphene can be used to develop a non-toxic and anti-static hair dye, capable of altering colour without chemically affecting hair.

Printing Companies
Printing Companies

Could equipment and inks benefit from exploring the potential of this new material?

In all likelihood, the answer is ‘yes.’

Prototype Developers
Prototype Developers

A whole world of potential exists for businesses working on prototype developments.

Renewable Energy
Renewable Energy Companies

Lighter, more durable products will be greener.

Solar panel arrays could be modified to capitalise on the super conductivity of graphene.

Wind turbines can be made that have a longer lifespan.

Offshore wind farms often struggle to deal with the elements.

Graphene can be used as an anti-corrosion layer, increasing the performance of the turbine.

Renewable Energy
Research Laboratories

Much research remains to be done with the commercial potential of this new material.

Manchester University alone has over 300 researchers dedicated to graphene and other 2D materials spanning more than 30 academic groups.

R&D in Telecommunications Sector

Fibre broadband changed internet speeds considerably.

Graphene has the potential to do the same again.

Mobile devices and other telecoms kit will likely be enhanced by experimenting with the many amazing properties of this new material.

If you are about to embark on a project with the intention of enhancing or creating new products, materials, components, systems, processes or devices contact Hamilton Wood & Company today as we are happy to guide you on how to maximise your return on investment moving forward.

Author: Simon Dodd

Simon is the Managing Director of Hamilton Wood & Company.

His interests are reading, astrology, martial arts, and siberian huskies.