November 6, 2015

Graphene means business – two-dimensional material moves from the lab to the UK factory floor

(November 6, 2015)  A major showcase of companies developing new technologies from graphene and other two-dimensional materials took place this week at the Cambridge Graphene Centre.

More than 40 companies, mostly from the UK, are in Cambridge this week to demonstrate some of the new products being developed from graphene and other two-dimensional materials.

Graphene is a two-dimensional material made up of sheets of carbon atoms. With its combination of exceptional electrical, mechanical and thermal properties, graphene has the potential to revolutionise industries ranging from healthcare to electronics.

Cambridge Graphene Technology Day (Photo: Francis Sedgemore/Cambridge Graphene Centre)

On Thursday, the Cambridge Graphene Technology Day – an exhibition of graphene-based technologies organised by the Cambridge Graphene Centre, together with its partner companies – took place, showcasing new products based on graphene and related two-dimensional materials.

Some of the examples of the products and prototypes on display included flexible displays, printed electronics, and graphene-based heaters, all of which have potential for consumer applications. Other examples included concrete and road surfacing incorporating graphene, which would mean lighter and stronger infrastructure, and roads that have to be resurfaced far less often, greatly lowering the costs to local governments.

“At the Cambridge Graphene Technology Day we saw several real examples of graphene making its way from the lab to the factory floor – creating jobs and growth for Cambridge and the UK,” said Professor Andrea Ferrari, Director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre and of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Graphene Technology. “Cambridge is very well-placed in the network of UK, European and global initiatives targeting the development of new products and devices based on graphene and related materials.”

Cambridge Graphene Technology Day

Cambridge has a long history of research and application into carbon-based materials, since the identification of the graphite structure in 1924, moving through to diamond, diamond-like carbon, conducting polymers, and carbon nanotubes, with a proven track-record in taking carbon research from the lab to the factory floor.

Cambridge is also one of the leading centres in graphene technology. Dr Krzysztof Koziol from the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy sits on the management board of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Graphene Technology. He is developing hybrid electrical wires made from copper and graphene in order to improve the amount of electric current they can carry, functional graphene heaters, anti-corrosion coatings, and graphene inks which can be used to draw printed circuit boards directly onto paper and other surfaces.

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