Construction on a production facility for additive manufacturing (AM) materials based on graphene has started,
according to Australian startup Sparc Technologies,
a materials science company focused on creating industrial applications for graphene.
Sparc wants to increase the scale of its production of composites and coatings based on graphene at the new facility in Adelaide.
The thinnest layer of graphite that can exist alone is roughly what is meant by the term “graphene,” which is used to describe a nanomaterial.
Its existence was thought to be purely theoretical until 2004 when physicists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester in the UK discovered a form of it.
Geim and Noveselov isolated the substance in two-dimensional form using a block of graphite and regular scotch tape; for this work, they were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Sparc Technologies’ managing director,
Mike Bartels, stated in a press release announcing the beginning of construction on the company’s new graphene production facility:
“Our ongoing comprehensive testing program with global tier 1 and 2 coatings companies continues to demonstrate the significant performance improvement of coatings and composite materials employing our products.
The frequency of asset maintenance can be significantly reduced by improving coating performance, which helps to lower costs and, more importantly, the environmental impact associated with such activities.
Recent R&D interest in materials made of graphene is primarily driven by their bactericidal qualities,
which in addition to their strength and the ability to be chemically bonded to a wide range of other substances,
was already mentioned.
So, in addition to heavy industry and energy,
where Sparc Technologies,
for example, has a strong focus on hydrogen power, graphene-based materials are increasingly gaining traction in the medical device industry.
Cold spay and Graphene use
Finally, given the expanding significance of cold spray AM in that market,
the use of graphene in coatings and composites would seem to be particularly viable for the AM sector in Australia.
The successful fusion of those two technologies
— nanomaterials science and cold spray AM —
could have significant implications for accelerating the scale-up of more sustainable energy supply chains, given the potential of graphene-based metal alloys for use in renewable energy.