Graphene – a honeycomb-shaped layer of carbon just one atom thick – has the potential to revolutionise engineering materials, ultimately improving many aspects of our daily lives.
First isolated in 2004 by University of Manchester Professors Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov – who were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2010 for their discovery – graphene is made up of a single layer of graphite, the material used to make pencil leads. Yet, for being the thinnest and lightest material known, graphene is also the strongest – up to 300 times stronger than steel.
Extremely strong and thin, almost completely transparent and incredibly lightweight, graphene is also an amazing conductor of electricity and heat. These unique and versatile characteristics are inspiring scientists to come up with an ever-growing range of uses and applications.
So, why aren’t we seeing graphene everywhere yet? While all new technologies take time to reach the market, graphene faced an additional challenge: when being produced or mixed, the flakes tend to stick together, forming back into graphite and losing its remarkable properties.
Technology leader ABB has invested in Swedish company Graphmatech, which has found a solution to this problem. Their patented graphene hybrid Aros Graphene keeps the flakes separated, enabling the full potential of this wonder material to be realised across a range of composite and coating applications.
Together, experts from ABB and Graphmatech are exploring a huge range of industrial uses. Having already developed more sustainable long-life electrical contacts, they are collaborating on lubricant-free circuit breakers and graphene-enhanced materials suitable for packaging and cooling electronics.
Other applications include batteries and semiconductors with improved energy efficiency. With its enhanced thermal and electrical conductivity, graphene could revolutionise electric vehicle batteries, enabling faster charging and helping increase the adoption of environmentally friendly electric mobility.
Graphmatech and ABB are proud to be working together to bring the promising innovations of this remarkable material to the world, for a smarter, more sustainable future.