What’s stronger than steel, tougher than diamond, and yet lighter than paper? It’s graphene! But, what is it that brings this material described as a one atom thick honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms into focus and makes industry leaders consider it as the next disruptive innovation replacing some of the currently used materials in the paints and coatings industry, amongst others?
Disruption as in what email did to postal mail, and what the mass producible Ford Model T did to the locomotive. These “disruptive” advancements can be scary stuff for mailmen and train conductors, but for society as a whole they’re a tremendous boon.
That’s what they say graphene will do. Just like aluminum and plastics opened up a plethora of products and uses one never thought of before.
Monash University has demonstrated that a thin graphene film can make copper 100x more resistant to corrosion than uncoated copper. Researchers at the Shenyang National Laboratory for Material Sciences and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have shown that graphene can be used to create a superhydrophobic coating material.
Furthermore, graphene being so conductive it can replace silver, copper and other metals in paints, coatings and inks where flexible conductivity or low electrical resistance is required.
Graphene can be grown directly on the surface of almost any metal under the right conditions. It could form a protective conformal layer, that is, it could be used on complex surfaces.
So far, the production of graphene remained confined in research laboratories and may be a few manufacturing units. But not really on a commercial scale.
We recently met up with Mr Mark Thompson, Managing Director, Talga, who has discovered a method to produce graphene on a large commercial scale and may change the ballgame altogether, the details of which as well as a technical paper on the subject, are printed within the pages of this magazine.
This, besides all our regular columns like New Products & Processes, Industry News, Educational Feature, Company Profiles, Events & Exhibitions and more.
Let me take this opportunity to wish each one of you a very happy and prosperous year ahead!