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Rice U researchers pave the way towards using graphene to repair spinal cord injuries

Mar 26, 2017

Researchers from Rice University, led by the renowned Prof. James M. Tour, are attempting to repair spinal cord injuries with the help of TexasPEG, a water soluble graphene nanoribbon dispersion. In rodents, the method has been able to restore a completely paralyzed rat to a motility score of 19 out of 21, where 21 is a perfect score. If successful in humans as well, it may be applicable to new injuries, and potentially old injuries up to 30 years in the past - restoring function and sensation in both paraplegics and quadriplegics.

GNRs may be useful in repairing spinal cord injuries image

The team's novel approach acts as a directional scaffold for the neurons to grow along. It uses highly conductive graphene nanoribbons (GNR), which are long and thin. These graphene nanoribbons have been chemically modified to be water soluble (PEG-GNR), so they can disperse well between the existing neurons. Neurons then attach to these GNRs, and grow axons and dendrites along them until they re-connect with another neuron. These PEG-GNR are dissolved in PEG600 to form a solution that is topically administered to cuts in the spinal cord. This solution has been named TexasPEG by researchers in the field.

3D printed bacteria could be used to reduce graphene oxide

Mar 26, 2017

Researchers at Delft University have shown that placing certain types of bacteria on flat sheets of graphene oxide can turn it into a reduced version of the compound (rGO) by pulling oxygen atoms off the material as they metabolize. This turns the popular process of GO reduction, normally done with chemicals or high heat, into a much cheaper, more environmentally friendly process.

3D printed bacteria reduces GO image

While the traditional method of reducing graphene with heat or chemicals is still more effective, the bacterial method could be very useful in the production of precise, small-scale graphene structures – such as those produced with a 3D printer. In this work, the researchers document how they modified a $300 CoLiDo 3D printer by replacing the extruder with a pipet tip and tubing system. “This alteration allows the liquid biological ink (‘bioink’) to be transported under ambient temperatures that are amenable to microbes, rather than the elevated temperatures that are applied to melt plastic filament,” the team explains.

Manchester U team shows the influence of pre- and post-dispersion on the properties of GNP-enhanced epoxy

Mar 23, 2017

Researchers from The University of Manchester have conducted a study that presents a review of the three steps of manufacturing graphene/epoxy nano-composites. The possible pre-treatments of nanoparticles before dispersion are introduced, and their influence on the final nanocomposite properties discussed.

SEM images of fracture surface of aligned GNP based epoxy compositeSEM images of fracture surface of aligned GNP based epoxy composite

The study stresses interesting results, among which are improvements in various characteristics via the use of GNPs. For instance, an improvement of the thermal diffusivity of 220% was seen when compared to a non-oriented GNP epoxy sample. The work demonstrates how the addition of functionalized graphene platelets to an epoxy resin will allow it to act as electrical and thermal conductor rather than as insulator. The mechanical properties of functionalized GNP/epoxy composites show improvement of the interfacial bond.

Haydale's revenues increase 90% in H1 FY2016, updates on various graphene projects

Mar 23, 2017

UK-based Haydale announced its unaudited results for the six months ended 31 December 2016, or H1 FY2016. Total income was £1.5 million (up 90% from H1 2015) and the loss was £2.4 million (up from £1.9 million in H1 2015).

Haydale also provided some interesting update. The company signed a joint development agreement with Hunsman in Novermber 2016, and Haydale now says that Huntsman announced strong initial test results from Haydale's graphene enhanced Araldite resins in thermal management. Haydale's Thailand subsidiary also announced two new small contacts - one from the Thai Ministry of Energy for a printed hybrid functionalized graphene electrode in a supercapacitor and another from IRPC, a leading Thai petrochemical chemical processor.

Graphene enables solar-powered "electronic skin" with sensing abilities

Mar 23, 2017

Researchers at the University of Glasgow have used graphene to develop a robotic hand with solar-powered skin, which may open the door to the development of prosthetic limbs or robots with a sense of touch.

Graphene prosthetic hand image

The team created the skin with the help of a single atomic layer of graphene, in a method that includes integrating power-generating photovoltaic cells into the electronic skin. The scientists say that “Whatever light is available, 98 percent is going and hitting the solar cell”, explaining that a solar panel is located just under the surface of the clear graphene skin. “it is generating power that can be used to get the sensitivity, the tactile feeling”.

Talga enters agreement with Zinergy to develop graphene inks for printed flexible bateries

Mar 22, 2017

Talga Resources logoTalga Resources, an Australia-based company focused on graphite mining and graphene supply and applications development, has announced that it has signed a joint development agreement with Zinergy UK to co-develop and supply graphene conductive inks for electrodes in thin, flexible printed batteries.

Under the terms of the agreement, Talga and Zinergy will collaborate to develop and trial graphene-based conductive ink formulations in components of the patented Zinergy ultra-thin printed battery. The development program will run for an initial 12 month period.

A new graphene oxide coating to improve the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

Mar 21, 2017

Researchers at Yale University have developed an ultra-thin coating material, based on graphene oxide, that has the potential to extend the life and improve the efficiency of lithium-sulfur batteries. The newly developed material is a dendrimer-graphene oxide composite film, that can be applied to any sulfur cathode.

GO coating to improve Li-sulfur batteries performance image

The researchers state that sulfur cathodes coated with the material can be stably discharged and recharged for more than 1,000 cycles, enhancing the battery’s efficiency and number of cycles. In addition, they said “the developed film is so thin and light it will not affect the overall size or weight of the battery, and thus it will function without compromising the energy and power density of the device”.

Skeleton Technologies launches graphene-based engine start supercapacitor

Mar 19, 2017

Skeleton Technologies, developer and manufacturer of high energy and power density supercapacitors, has announced launching a new graphene-based engine start module to help power heavy industry vehicles in extreme conditions. Called SkelStart Engine Start Module 2.0, it is available in 24V and 12V versions and is based on the graphene-based SkelCap supercapacitors, which Skeleton says provide the highest power and energy density on the market.

Skeleton's new graphene-based supercapacitor image

The new module’s casing is made of non-flammable material that is resistant to vibration and shock, and is a stud terminal device in BCI Group 31 size. Skeleton states that “SkelStart Engine Start modules are designed to provide reliable engine starting in even the harshest conditions, as well as reduced ongoing costs on maintenance and replacement. Businesses can therefore expect their equipment to work cost effectively year-round, affording them peace of mind.”

Graphene: history, controversy and the Nobel prize

Mar 16, 2017

Graphene, the much-hyped 2D matrix of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice, is the lightest, strongest, thinnest material known to man, as well as the best heat and electricity conductor ever discovered - and the list does not end there. Graphene is the subject of relentless research and is thought to be able to revolutionize entire industries, as researchers hypothesize many potential kinds of graphene-based materials and applications.

Andre Geim and Kostya Novosolov Nobel prize award photo

The excitement surrounding graphene soared since Sir Andre Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics, "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene". Geim and Novoselov extracted graphene from graphite, using the "scotch tape" method, to obtain a piece of graphene (or carbon) one atom thick.