First Graphene Ltd has announced that they will collaborate with world-leading experts at the University of Warwick on a PhD Project to unlock the potential of graphene in thermoplastic systems.
First Graphene Ltd. has secured an award under the Warwick Collaborative Post Graduate Research Scholarship Scheme, in conjunction with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG). WMG have established a successful model for collaboration between academia and the private and public sectors and have very strong links with world-leading industrial partners such as Jaguar Land Rover, who have located their advanced research group at the WMG campus.
First Graphene will collaborate with Professor Tony McNally, whose team have an established capability in incorporating nanomaterials, including carbon nanotubes and graphene into bulk polymer systems. The company has committed to funding a PhD student and will also provide in-kind support for the 3 ½ year project.
Using graphene as an additive in thermoplastic materials gives an improvement in properties such as mechanical, electrical, thermal, fire retardancy, chemical resistance and gas barrier. This provides the potential to move lower cost polymers such as polyolefins and polyamides up the “plastics performance pyramid,” creating new value for plastic manufacturers. Potential uses for these enhanced engineering plastics are light-weighting in automotive and aerospace as well as the delivery of a new generation of high-performing fire-retardant plastics in mass transport, construction and oil & gas.
Initial academic work on graphene enhanced plastics has demonstrated significant improvements in performance but was not based on industrially relevant processing technologies. Consequently, property improvements by industrial processing have not yielded the full impressive improvements that are described in the literature.
The project will combine WMG’s capability with First Graphene’s operational excellence in graphene production and processing to investigate and optimise the impact of surface chemistry, the use of additives and optimised mixing technologies to deliver high value improvements in the thermoplastic properties.
Craig McGuckin, Managing Director – First Graphene Ltd. said: “We are pleased to announce this collaboration. It highlights our desire to deliver world-leading graphene enhanced products. We recognise that WMG has world-leading expertise and are therefore pleased to continue investing in collaborative projects in the United Kingdom.”
Professor Tony McNally, Professor in Nanocomposites and Director of the International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (IINM) at WMG said: “I am pleased to be collaborating with First Graphene. I look forward to working with their research team on this project, which will drive real benefits in the industrial use of thermoplastic materials in a range of real-world applications.”