UK-based start-up company, GraphCase, has developed a patent-pending technology to create a composite polymer using graphene, which is made from 100% recycled plastics. A prototype for a graphene-based smart suitcase made from this material has been developed in collaboration with The University of Manchester. The world's first graphene suitcase is said to be 60% stronger, 20% lighter and has a lifetime warranty. The material used can also be recycled multiple times whilst maintaining its performance.
The overwhelming excess of plastic, detrimental to the environment, can be addressed by recycling, However, one of the barriers for using recycled plastic includes degradation and thermal aging of the plastic as well as mixing low-grade materials into the batch, which results in poor performance properties and lower reusability. The use of one 20" GraphCase cabin luggage could potentially reduce 6 kg CO2 emissions into the environment.
The graphene-enhanced recycled polycarbonate system imparts smooth-touch, scratch resistant and better impact properties. The case also includes an ejectable battery pack so mobile devices can be charged (on the go) a TSA approved lock as well as being water resistant.
"Plastic pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges at the moment. We all have to do our bit to save the environment. By adding graphene to recycled plastics, it was possible to develop 60 percent stronger and 20 percent lighter travel case with 50% less CO2 emission," says Dr. Nazmul Karim, co-founder of GraphCase.
Looking ahead, GraphCase is working with the ERDF Bridging the Gap Programme to take this concept forward. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) the project has been developed to proactively engage Greater Manchester (GM) based SMEs and new ventures to allow them to overcome challenges, and explore and apply graphene and other advanced 2D materials in a wide range of applications and markets.
Dr. Shaila Afroj, other co-founder of GraphCase and former University of Manchester student, said, "Over the last several months we have worked extremely hard with Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) at The University of Manchester and various partners to develop World first Graphene-enhanced travel case based on 100% recycle plastics. We are hoping to bring our smart, strong and environmentally sustainable travel case to the market in the new year. By providing high quality, extremely durable and 100% recycled plastics-based suitcase, we would like to provide greatest experiences to the travelers."