CPI spin-out Primary Dispersions has formed a group that aims to commercialize specialist graphene based epoxy resins for the aerospace industry. Companies in the group include Bombardier, B/E Aerospace, NetComposites, The Institute of Occupational Medicine, and Nanoforce Technology.
The project will develop a top-down technique and synthesis platform which can efficiently and cost effectively produce graphene-reinforced epoxy resins on a scale that allows for market adoption, since as of now, there are no such techniques suitable for large-scale production of graphene based epoxy resins.
The ‘NanoSynth’ project under InnovateUK began in April 2013 and has since been able to show significant improvements in the mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of epoxy resin. While still at an insufficient technology readiness level, the programme has developed a method for producing graphene in-situ within the resin. Thus, the project has the potential to introduce graphene based epoxy resins into aerospace components leading to parts that are not only stronger and of reduced weight but also possess improved electrical and thermal properties.
Currently, the technology is only relevant to pre-impregnated systems, and additional research would be required to gain the same benefits in infusion, which is the current method to produce aerospace standard advanced composites.