Morgan Advanced Materials has announced a new joint development agreement with The University of Manchester, aimed at scaling up a new process for manufacturing graphene.
The world’s thinnest material and a potent conductor, graphene is also extremely lightweight, chemically inert and has a large surface area which means, with further research and testing, it could change the way we think about electrical and chemical engineering. It was isolated at the University in 2004.
Bringing together some of the University’s leading graphene researchers and Morgan’s 150 years of carbon processing expertise, the partnership will explore the full potential of graphene, with a particular interest in understanding and optimising the relationship between the manufacturing process and materials science. The partnership has been established to improve the prospects of bringing this material to commercial reality. Morgan initially began work with The University of Manchester in early 2010 on a number of Government-funded materials and related programmes, and the joint graphene development agreement represents the next stage in this relationship.
The University of Manchester, the home of graphene, was where the scientific discovery was made. It has around 200 graphene researchers and is a world leader in applied and fundamental graphene research. The £61m National Graphene Institute at the University is set to open in early 2015, funded by £38m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and £23m from the European Regional Development Fund.
The integrated Morgan and University academic team will therefore be working within a significant community of graphene expertise and facilities. Involved in the project are Professor Ian Kinloch, Professor Rob Dryfe, Dr Amor Abdelkader, Adam Cooper, Ralph Hick and Fei Liu. Funding has been provided by the EPSRC and by UMI3.
Dr Mike Murray, Chief Technology Officer of Morgan Advanced Materials commented: “With decades of expertise in developing specialist carbon-based materials, Morgan’s material scientists will be based full time at the university, working closely with academic colleagues to understand the manufacturing mechanism and properties of graphene, helping us explore the applications where the technology can be used for optimum benefit.”
Clive Rowland, CEO of the University’s Innovation Company, UMI3, added: “To explore and fully exploit the properties of graphene, commercial partnerships are vital. I am very pleased with our collaboration with Morgan, which is based around an intellectual property project that we have taken to the proof-of-principle stage.
"We have consistently said that joining forces with world-class companies like Morgan Advanced Materials and tapping into such engineering and industrial experience will help us realise the full potential of the material and greatly assist us in overcoming the myriad challenges of taking an entirely new material from the laboratory all the way through to the manufacturing stage and ultimately to market adoption.”