Graphene for foam and coating applications
Based at Technische Universität Dresden, Ali Shaygan Nia is a business developer for graphene-based coatings and composites for environmental applications such as air and water purification and anticorrosion coatings. Shaygan Nia has a PhD in polymer chemistry and more than six years’ experience developing graphene and 2D materials for composites and coatings. He also has experience on graphene-based product development and commercialisation by acting as application engineer at the Graphene Flagship's spin-off Sixonia Tech. Shaygan Nia now offers his thoughts on the current state of graphene in foam and coating applications.
Q. What is the current state of graphene for foam and coating applications?
Various products are currently on the market based on graphene coating formulations, especially in protective, heat dissipation and thermal management coatings. However, most graphene-based foams are still under investigation and have not yet been commercialised. Graphene foams have a wide range of applications such as water and air purification, cell cultures, sensors and laser diode-based lighting systems. It is worth noting that following the pandemic crisis, many companies have started to work on the development of graphene-based antibacterial and antiviral coating and foams.
Q. What challenges does graphene face in becoming integrated in foams and coatings?
One of the main challenges facing the incorporation of graphene and other 2D materials in coating formulations and foam structures is their tendency to agglomerate and aggregate, which leads to the destruction of coating formulations and foam structures. Different strategies are being employed in the industry, like adding surfactants to avoid aggregations. However, surfactants also reduce the intrinsic properties of graphene, such as its electrical conductivity. Therefore, Graphene Flagship partners like Sixonia Tech GmbH have developed surfactant-free formulations to tackle this issue.
Q. What are the most promising graphene foam and coating products currently on the market?
As I already mentioned, the most promising products on the market belongs to graphene-based formulations for protective, heat dissipation and thermal management coatings. In this regard, Graphene Flagship members are highly active and possess different products on the market including the Marigi racing thermal coating, GXT - Graphene lubricant formulation and Talga’s anticorrosion coating paints.