Graphene Flagship partner IIT, in collaboration with Italian design company Momodesign, announced the development of a graphene-coated motorcycle helmet that reportedly allows better distribution of impact force. This makes the helmet less susceptible to damage compared to helmets without graphene, even in high temperatures. The result is described as a helmet that improves thermal comfort as well as safety.
In the new helmet, graphene is added into the outer shell as a coating, providing a protective effect to the inner materials of the helmet. This effect was described as a graphene "shelter": the excellent heat-conductive properties of graphene dissipate heat quickly across the helmet, and protect the inner materials from degradation caused by heat.
The helmets are fabricated in a manufacturing plant in northern Italy, where the graphene-coating procedure has been integrated directly into the existing production line. The manufacturing process starts with the production of a graphene powder with few- and multi-layer graphene flakes. This powder is subsequently mixed into a solution and then spray-coated on the exterior shell of the helmets.
The technology is the first step of this collaboration and the aim is to continue with the development of other graphene helmets. The researchers are now working to add graphene into the inner plastic materials of the helmet, with the goal of achieving the same level of safety with a thinner helmet and improve comfort for the wearer.
An initial run of 3,000 helmets have been produced for sale in specialty markets and major motoring showrooms. The helmet will be on display at the Graphene Flagship Pavilion at the Composites Europe show from November 29 through December 1 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
In December 2014, A Spanish sports equipment company called Catlike used graphene to produce cycling helmets, in a line called Mixino 2014. The company states that graphene allows improving the helmet's safety features, as well as reaching minimum volume and weight and increase ventilation.