In December 2011 the EU launched a graphene project called NanoMaster with an aim to develop up-scale processing methods for production of graphene and expanded graphite reinforced thermoplastic masterbatches and compounds. Today the project partners announced that the project is entering its final phase, and is reporting exciting results.
Recently, the project team focused on optimizing and up-scaling the processes for graphene and expanded graphite production, and their subsequent compounding with a range of thermoplastics. They have now achieved a graphene production capacity increase from 50 grams to 2.5 Kg.
The researchers evaluated competing products and compared them to the NanoMaster material. They report that the NanoMaster materials were found to be highest quality (in terms of number of layers, presence of defects and uniformity of particle diameter) and able to impart greatest property enhancements to a range of polymers.
The project now enters the final phase, and in the 18 months that are left the team will continue to optimize nanocomposite processing parameters - both for conventional processes such as injection moulding and film extrusion; and for additive manufacturing processes, including selective laser sintering and fused deposition modelling. The project is led by UK's NetComposite and involves 12 other partners, including Philips, Imerys Graphite and Carbon and Rochling Automotive.