Graphene Flagship partners launch rocket to test the possibilities of printing graphene inks in space

Graphene Flagship partners, Université Libre de Bruxelles, University of Pisa and the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), recently launched The Materials Science Experiment Rocket (MASER) into space. The objective is to test the printing of graphene patterns on silicon substrates in zero gravity conditions.

New graphene experiment launches into space image

The experiment aims to test the possibilities of printing graphene inks in space. Studying the different self-assembly modes of graphene into functional patterns in zero-gravity will enable the fabrication of graphene electronic devices during long-term space missions, as well as help understand fundamental properties of graphene printing on Earth. This mission is also a first step towards the investigation of graphene for radiation shielding purposes, an essential requirement of manned space exploration.

Purdue team uses graphene foams to power spacecraft

Researchers at Purdue University’s Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories are developing a new propellant formulation method that will use graphene foams to power spacecraft. The research is reportedly showing success at increasing burn rate of solid propellants that are used to fuel rockets and spacecraft.

“Our propulsion and physics researchers came together to focus on a material that has not previously been used in rocket propulsion, and it is demonstrating strong results,” said Li Qiao, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics in Purdue’s College of Engineering.

Newly designed telescope with graphene sensors to be used in space in the near future

New equipment developed in Brazil - the Solar-T - will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) to measure solar flares. It is estimated that the Sun-THz, the name given to the new photometric telescope, will be launched in 2022 on one of the missions to the ISS and will remain there to take consistent measurements. The telescope contains graphene sensors that are highly sensitive to terahertz frequencies, able to detect polarization and be adjusted electronically.

The Sun THz is an enhanced version of the Solar-T, a double photometric telescope that was launched in 2016 by NASA in Antarctica in a stratospheric balloon that flew 12 days at an altitude of 40,000 m. The Solar-T captured the energy emitted by solar flares at two unprecedented frequencies: from 3 to 7 terahertz (THz) that correspond to a segment of far infrared radiation. The Solar-T was designed and built in Brazil by researchers at CRAAM together with colleagues at the Center for Semiconductor Components at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP). The new equipment will be the product of a partnership with the Lebedev Physics Institute in Russia.

Graphene/hBN ceramic could act as a sensor for structures and aircraft

Rice University and Iran University of Science and Technology researchers have found a unique ceramic material that could act as a sensor for structures.

Graphene/hBN ceramic could act as a sensor for structures and aircraft image

The ceramic becomes more electrically conductive under elastic strain and less conductive under plastic strain, and could lead to a new generation of sensors embedded into structures like buildings, bridges and aircraft able to monitor their own health.

Graphene Flagship partners present a graphene-enhanced leading edge for the Airbus A350

Graphene Flagship partners Aernnova, Grupo Antolin-Ingenieria and Airbus have produced a leading edge for the Airbus A350 horizontal tail plane using graphene-enhanced composites. As the first part of the tail plane to contact air, the leading edge is subjected to extreme temperatures caused by compressive heating of the air ahead of the wing. Thus, it must possess excellent mechanical and thermal properties.

Graphene Flagship partners produced a leading edge for the Airbus A350 horizontal tail plane using graphene-enhanced composites image

“Aernnova supplied the resin to Grupo Antolin-Ingenieria who added graphene directly to the resin and applied milling forces,” said Ana Reguero of Aernnova. “This creates small graphene particles – an important step to get good graphene infiltration within the resin, avoiding unwanted impurities, such as solvents, which can alter the viscosity of the resin. It is important to maintain the correct viscosity of the resin to ensure the optimal outcome during the resin transfer molding of the leading edge.”