University sets up service to tap into the graphene boom

Graphene is stronger than steel, yet is lightweight and flexible, it is electrically and thermally conductive and transparent. It is also one millionth the diameter of a human hair. It can be in powder form or liquid, with variations in properties, yield and reproducibility, depending on the form.

Graphene is a disruptive technology, yet its potential is still untapped, as manufacturers explore its potential, commercial possibilities.

The service was created in part to verify the properties of graphene in projects, as the material is unregulated. The partners hope to accelerate the industrialisation and commercial uses for graphene and be a part of the economic boom as part of what Global Market Insights believes will be a $200 million global market by 2024.

If the UK fails to put the building blocks in place for industrialisation of graphene, it could risk missing out on the associated economic boom, warns the University, where Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov, first isolated crystal graphene in 2004.

Although early adopter of graphene technology are seeing benefits, reports the university, it needs to be industrialised to fulfil its potential in sensors for the IoT, increasing efficiency in cars and planes, flexible phones and solar cells and in biomedical applications.

Industrialisation will rely on increasing the the quality and reproducibility of the material, through standardisation, and the price of graphene dropping, due to economies of scale.

NPL will contribute measurements for the properties of commercial graphene and NGI will check the material properties and suitability for a particular applications. NPL led the development of the first graphene ISO standard, on graphene terminology, and with the NGI, produced the NPL Good Practice Guide on the characterisation of graphene.

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