Functional Foams and Coatings
New materials to tackle sustainability challenges
The Functional Foams and Coatings Work Package took significant steps forward on the functionalisation and processing of graphene and related materials (GRMs) into porous structures, such as foams and membranes, coatings for environmental applications like water and air purification, anticorrosion coatings and environmental monitoring devices. These address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to fight against the shortage of drinkable water, the increase of air pollution and the lack of proper health monitoring.
The last 10 years
The Work Package has faced some challenges in upscaling functionalised GRMs and their industrial-level processing into foams and coatings. However, these have been successfully addressed and two spin-offs were established, namely Sixonia Tech and BeDimensional.
BeDimensional’s anticorrosion paint based on two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride and Sixonia Tech’s graphene inks are already on the market.
We filed several patents and coordinated several non-disclosure agreements to discuss graphene-based foams with various European companies, especially in the automotive and aviation sectors.
We have also worked on membranes for water filtration and sensors for environmental and health applications. Finally, we have collaborated with the Spearhead Project GrEEnBaT, led by Varta Micro Innovation, to work on graphene-enabled energy storage solutions.
Last year’s progress
This year we published our progress in developing membranes for reverse electrodialysis – a technique that could capture the osmotic energy available from the difference in the salt concentration between seawater and fresh water. Traditional membranes, such as commercial ion-exchange membranes, suffer from inadequate ion transport abilities, while layered materials have emerged as promising alternatives to generate electricity. These thin membranes made of imine-based 2D polymers display excellent ionic conductivity and high selectivity, resulting in power density of 53 W/m2, which is one order of magnitude higher than traditional ion-exchange membranes.
The team also published a method to develop single crystals of charged two-dimensional polymers made of pyridinium cations and BF4 anions. The crystals have a thickness that can be adjusted between 2 and 30 nm and can be as large as 120 square micrometres. They show excellent chloride ion selectivity and output power density, superior to those of graphene and boron membranes.
Wang, Z. et al. Nature Synth. 2022, DOI: 10.1038/s44160-021-00001-4
Zhang, Z. et al. Nature Commun. 2022, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-31523-w
Hou, H. L. et al. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2022, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.202207065
Young and innovative, Graphene Flagship Partner NANESA is creating products based on composite materials to meet the needs of clients across various fields.
An interview of Tenutec’s CEO Sebastian Ringqvist about innovative thermal dissipation systems with low footprint
“Lignography”: the art of making sensors out of wood scraps
Graphene Week 2023 is soon approaching. The 2023 edition of the Graphene Flagship’s Graphene Week will take place at Svenska Massan, in Gothenburg, Sweden from 4 -8 September 2023. With this year’s theme being ‘Turn Wonder into Action’, the conference is set to showcase the achievements of the Graphene Flagship and it’s partners this past decade and facilitate varied discussions on the future possibilities of Graphene research and applications.
Several spin-outs that are directly partnered with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at Graphene Flagship Partner The University of Manchester (UK) have received milestone funding, including a $1 billion investment.