- First Graphene secures a funded development project with Sellafield’s Game Changers Programme
- Project will assess the use of graphene in long rubber gloves (gauntlets) fitted in gloveboxes and used by operators in the nuclear decommissioning industry
- Pending a successful outcome, gauntlets are expected to go into mass production within 12 months
First Graphene Limited (ASX:FGR; “First Graphene” or “the Company”) is pleased to advise it has secured a funded development project to look into the feasibility of enhancing long rubber gloves, or gauntlets, used in the nuclear decommissioning industry.
The project, conducted through Sellafield’s Game Changers Programme which connects innovative solutions to complex nuclear industry challenges, aims to develop needlestick and puncture-resistant rubber gauntlets for operators who are using decommissioning gloveboxes at the United Kingdom’s Sellafield Nuclear Site.
The gloveboxes can contain hidden sharp objects, such as cropped cables, pipework or needlesticks, that could tear or puncture gauntlets and thus expose handlers to harmful radiation. The objective is to develop gauntlets that will keep the operator’s hands safe without significantly reducing dexterity or increasing the weight or load.
Following a competitive tendering process, First Graphene’s proposal to investigate the feasibility of using the Company’s PureGRAPH® graphene technology was selected.
Initial development work conducted by First Graphene’s Research and Development team has shown that the addition of PureGRAPH® in certain rubber systems can increase tear strength and puncture resistance. During the 12-week project, the Company’s R&D team will focus on rubber systems and relevant test methods to prove the concept. The company will utilise its know-how in dispersing graphene into rubber to improve the mechanical strength of the gauntlets, allowing their thickness to be reduced. This has the potential to enhance operator dexterity without compromising on safety.
Sellafield Ltd has stated that an ideal scenario would result in a material which can be made into a gauntlet to replace both the gauntlet and the cut-proof inner or over-gloves, allowing them to be at the point of mass production and procurement within one year. The parties will then collaborate to extend the improved products to adjacent high-volume markets.
First Graphene also sees potential to expand applications for improved mechanical performance into the broader protective glove market, which had a global value of US$12.37 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $35.20b by 2027.