Colloids Group funds research project for graphene nanocomposites GEIC

The Colloids Group is funding a joint collaborative Ph.D. research project with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at The University of Manchester. The project team will investigate the applicability of nanocomposites based on graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) materials to a broad range of thermoplastic materials, including polyolefins, polyamides and polyesters, and to understand how mechanical, thermal, electrical, rheological and gas-barrier properties (among others) are affected by the production process and by the materials used.

Phase 1 of this collaborative project was successfully completed within 12 months. Phase 2, which is about to start, is expected to be a three to four year research project. For this next phase, Colloids is funding and supporting a full time Ph.D. researcher who will be based at the University of Manchester with the Advanced Nanomaterials Group led by Dr. Mark A. Bissett and Professor Ian A. Kinloch.

GrapheCase creates prototype for graphene-based smart suitcase made from recycled plastic

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 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.

An activated carbon-coated lint roller can yield super-clean graphene

In order for CVD graphene to be used in its intended application, it needs to be transferred from the growth substrate to a target substrate – a challenging but extremely important process step. Typically the transfer is done by spin-coating a supporting polymer layer and then chemically dissolving away the copper to release the graphene film from the substrate. The transferred graphene produced in this way is prone to contamination from the chemical agents used to remove the growth substrate as well as defective amorphous carbon generated during the high-temperature CVD growth. It also frequently leads to a substantial amount of polymer particle residue on the graphene generated during the transfer process. A third source of contamination could be airborne particles that are adsorbed onto the graphene surface.

Graphene treated by the activated carbon-coated lint roller imageTop: Schematic of the activated carbon-coated lint roller for cleaning the graphene surface. Bottom left: AFM image of unclean graphene on Cu foil. Bottom right: AFM image of superclean graphene on Cu foil. Image taken from Nanowerk

Researchers from Peking University and Tsinghua University in China and University of Manchester in the UK have recently demonstrated that the amorphous carbon contaminants on CVD-produced graphene, which could greatly degrade its properties, can be removed by an activated carbon-coated lint roller, relying on the strong interactions between the amorphous carbon and activated carbon.

University of Manchester and Khalifa University collaboration uses GO to take salts out of water

A partnership between The University of Manchester and Khalifa University of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi has yielded graphene-based membranes aimed at to taking salts out of water.

The most popular method for water desalination currently is a process called reverse osmosis, which requires large quantities of water to be forced through a membrane to remove the salts in the water. This method is particularly useful when there is a high salt content, however more efficient methods are required for bodies of water that have a lower salt content, known as brackish water. The team of researchers has developed new ion-selective membranes incorporating graphene oxide, for use in electromembrane desalination processes such as electrodialysis and membrane capacitive deionization.

First Graphene and Manchester University enter agreement to develop graphene-based energy storage materials

First Graphene logo imageFirst Graphene has signed an exclusive agreement with the UK’s University of Manchester, with the duo to collaborate on the development of energy storage materials including a new class of high-performance capacitors made from a graphene-hybrid.

This latest agreement expands on the duo’s formerly-established collaboration, with both organizations to make metal oxide decorated graphene materials, which have very high gravimetric capacitance of up to 500 Farads/g. Manchester University’s previous research has revealed high capacitance materials up to 500 Farads/g are possible and outperform existing materials.