After nearly two years of exploration, two Australian companies have signed an agreement to take the “wonder material” graphene into its next commercial domain: in anti-static and static-dispersive polymers.
“Fuel hosing is a huge market in automotive, and is currently a very complex product with several layers and some fairly expensive materials,” Andrew Stewart, Director of DuroColour Australia and General Manager of Duromer Products, told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
The other area of developmental focus is around harnessing anti-static properties in packaging.
This is often an area where carbon black and other additives are currently used, but the anti-static properties of this can degrade over time, and, for carbon black, the colour of the packaging is strictly limited.
Phil Aitchison, head of R&D and Chief Operating Officer at Imagine IM, told Manufacturers Monthly that, “You need a lot of carbon in there, and the more conductivity you need, the more carbon you need.
“People can put up to 10 per cent carbon into these plastics to get the right properties, and it weakens the physical properties.”
The applications originally considered by Duromer were in barrier films, an area where graphene’s impermeability to gases and liquids might hold potential. It might, perhaps, have been able to cut down the number of layers required.
Imagine IM has recently successfully completed field trials for graphene coatings, used to detect leaks, on Geofabrics Australasia’s bidim nonwoven textile product. This is expected be available commercially by the year’s end.