Getting graphene ready for the market
The Production Work Package mostly consists of industrial partners with a common goal: to develop new products with graphene and layered materials. We focus on applications where layered materials make a difference, providing unique properties and functionalities. Our team has the challenging task of providing commercial quality graphene to the rest of the Graphene Flagship.
The products developed by our work package have a range of applications in different industrial sectors. We designed a graphene-enabled UV lamp for air, water and surface disinfection; innovative systems for the in-line monitoring of graphene production; high-quality graphene coatings for copper wires, as well as lubricating appliances; and multifunctional materials with corrosion protection and fire-retardant properties.
This year’s progress
Some of our accomplishments in 2021 include the study of graphene-coated copper wires. Graphene Flagship researchers analysed the effects on ageing and degradation, demonstrating an improvement in conductivity of 3.5% when compared to pristine copper. We also developed the roll-to-roll production of monolayer CVD graphene onto polymer substrates, key for applications in flexible electronics and wearables. The system exploits the latest advances in terahertz spectroscopy for in-line monitoring and quality assessment. We also manufactured large-scale prototypes of pipes with customised properties enabled by graphene and layered materials. These tailored features include fire resistance and capabilities for sensing.
Although applications are our main focus, the Production Work Package also carries out fundamental research. For example, we studied how graphene and layered materials improved the mechanical properties of copper wires and coatings, gaining insights for the development of better evidence-based solutions.
All the graphene-enabled materials and products manufactured by our industrial partners are currently commercially available. Our activities progress as planned, and our researchers have overcome the major challenges encountered so far. We solved the difficulties posed by the dispersion of graphene and related materials in composites for aerospace and scaled up the production of innovative solutions for lubrication.
Some prototypes still require improvements to reach the market. Nevertheless, we are confident that many of these innovative applications for graphene and layered materials will become commercial products by the end of 2023.
Beyond the regular challenges of commercialising new products, our work package faces additional problems derived from the complexity of qualifications and regulations in certain industrial sectors. In the automotive industry, product approvals often take over two years, and in the aerospace industry this can take up to a decade. The Graphene Flagship had foreseen the convoluted pipelines, and has always invested in efficient roadmapping, validation and standardisation. We are on the path towards making graphene and related materials a commercial reality.
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