First Graphene Ltd has launched the latest formulations of its PureGRAPH® graphene powders. These are now available in production-scale volumes in standard lateral platelet sizes of 20µm, 10µm and 5µm. These are ideal for use in a wide range of industrial applications, where they can dramatically reduce weight and increase strength, thermal and electrical conductivity.
PureGRAPH® is characterised by its high quality, with non-aggregated, uniform sized graphene nanoplatelets; the material has extremely low defect levels and is free from metallic contaminants. In practice, this means that the material is easy to work with and use; for example, it disperses evenly and consistently in polyurethane thermosets and most common composite materials.
Just small amounts of graphene – typically less than 1% by volume – added to these materials can enhance their strength by over 30%, enabling their weight to be reduced by a similar factor. Graphene products can also be used to increase the thermal conductivity of polymers and composites.
First Graphene is exploring a number of high-volume markets for its PureGRAPH® graphene products. For instance, the company is working with Steel Blue, a major global manufacturer of work boots, for the development of graphene-enhanced safety boots. Prototype trials have been completed, the first time that graphene has successfully been incorporated into a thermoplastic polyurethane masterbatch.
The material is also being used to produce PU elastomer wear production liners for mining equipment. With PureGRAPH® requiring no pre-treatment or other formulation changes, the resulting wear liners have the ability to increase tensile strength by 37%. For mining and quarrying equipment, where downtime is often calculated in thousands of dollars per hour, the resulting improvement in operating life of the new wear liners, together with cost savings, is significant.
The market for the introduction of graphene is huge, First Graphene is working with a number of partners to continue developing new product innovations. This work is expected to result in many more applications adopting graphene to enhance existing products and launch new ones.