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Polymer Science,

reported increases greater than two times in tensile

strength and modulus of an epoxy composite using a number of O

2

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functionalised GNPs. The addition of increasing amounts of GNPs resulted

in strength increases of over 125% and toughness improvements of

100% compared with similarly cured, unreinforced material.

Shown in the picture are three resin disks: the clear one is untreated;

the middle disc is the same resin mixed with 0.5% weight of carbon

nanomaterials, demonstrating poor dispersion; and the opaque disc is

the same resin with the same 0.5% weight of functionalised carbon

nanomaterials, showing the homogenous dispersion.

Conductive inks are another significant market and, unlike indium tin oxide,

conductive inks are flexible and thus enable the production of flexible

electronics and other applications such as printing, smart packaging,

energy, transport, sensors, and biosensors for medical applications.

The characteristics of graphene are not disputed, nor is its potential to

revolutionise materials technology. Research has demonstrated that

graphene really can make a difference, and there are now a number of

companies taking this material from the laboratory into a range

of industries.

The commercialisation of these nano-enhanced

materials requires the correct dispersion as a

prerequisite for enhanced performance of both

monolithic and composite systems to enable the

raw material manufacturer, and industrial user,

to realise the true technical and commercial

opportunities that nano-enhancement provides

to the end user. The market needs confidence

in getting the right material of a consistent,

repeatable quality. Moreover, the buyers need to

know that the process can then be scaled up as

demand increases.

Potential applications

Graphene, due to its properties, could enhance

just about every material in use in the modern

world. Research undertaken by the UK’s Cardiff

School of Engineering, with additional funding

from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme

under the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative,

investigated GNPs and carbon nanotube

reinforcement technology. Compared to a resin,

macro-reinforcement such as carbon fibre is

immensely stiff and strong, and hence in a

fibre-reinforced composite, the properties are

dominated by the fibre.

The addition of functionalised graphene to neat

resin has been shown to result in a doubling in

stiffness, but the effect of this in a

macrocomposite would normally be expected

to be much less. The research results showed

a 13% increase in compression strength and a

50% increase in compression after impact

performance, indicating that fracture mode has

been positively influenced. This is a significant

result as damage resistance and compression

properties are of paramount importance in high

performance structures such as composite

aircraft wings. A resin infusion technique was

employed to produce composites containing a

small percentage of nanomaterials, achieving

maximum material improvements. This

technique is widely used in aerospace and

other high performance engineering industries

for the cost effective manufacture of high

integrity materials.

The Aerospace Corporation in California, United

States, conducted research into the use of

functionalised GNPs in epoxy composites.

The paper, published in the

Journal of Applied

Ray Gibbs

Haydale Graphene Industries

B R OW S E

www.haydale.com

H O R I Z O N

2 0 2 0

www.horizon2020projects.com

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

I S S U E S E V E N

33

S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : M AT E R I A L S

Resin discs epoxy

samples