Chennai, India – Carborundum Universal Ltd (CUMI), a global leader in high-performance, advanced materials, has taken a significant leap in the field of new materials by exploring the immense potential of graphene. Towards this end, CUMI has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Digital University of Kerala to set up a Center of Excellence, where further research and development on the wonder material will be taken up. This is another pioneering effort by the company to realize the immense potential of graphene following the setting up of a special 12,000 sq ft facility commissioned in 2020 to manufacture various grades of graphene and allied products. Despite the promising and myriad applications of this new material, large-scale commercialization of graphene needs investment in research to overcome the challenges of cost, identifying the right type of graphene for each application, consistent availability, and the expertise needed to process it.
The company is committed to realizing the potential of this game-changing nanomaterial by developing application knowledge, ensuring consistent availability, and identifying the right type of graphene for the right application.
Stressing that the possibilities for graphene are endless and that it can have a huge impact on every industry, Dr A P James, Professor-in-Charge, Maker Village, Professor, AI-Chip Design Center, Digital University Kerala, said, “Graphene is ultra-light, super strong, flexible, transparent, and impermeable. It is also a superconductor, allowing electricity to flow without any energy loss. All these properties will allow new and exciting innovations to emerge. We are happy to join hands with CUMI to set up a Center of Excellence where further research on this new-age material can be taken up.”
Stating that graphene has the potential to revolutionize multiple industries, from electronics and energy storage to medicine and transportation, due to its exceptional strength, conductivity, and flexibility, MV Sivakumaran, Senior VP and Business Head, Electro Minerals Division, CUMI, commented, “As a pioneer in the field of materials science research and applications, CUMI is investing to develop the potential of this wonder material. The Centre of Excellence at the Digital University of Kerala will help us to advance our research and development efforts in graphene, perfect specific solutions for various applications and industries, and create new products.”
MV Sivakumaran, Senior VP and Business Head, Electro Minerals Division, CUMI
Ready for commercial production of graphene
CUMI is a pioneer in the manufacture of graphene. A special facility was commissioned in 2020 to manufacture various grades of graphene and allied products suitable for applications in composites, coatings, and energy areas. The 12,000 sq ft facility can process 6 lakh litres/year of varying grades of graphene powders, besides producing master batches in different kinds of elastomers, thermosetting, and thermoplastic polymers. The facility also offers proprietary formulations of graphene additives useful for applications in concrete, anti-corrosion, and anti-microbial applications. The facility has a state-of-the-art application lab well equipped with various types of particle characterization equipment like laser particle size analyzers, Coulter multisizers, and BET surface area analyzers. The lab also has an FTIR spectrometer, an SEM, and various electro-mechanical characterization equipment.
Applications of graphene in industry and defence
Graphene is slated to be the game-changing nanomaterial of the 21st century due to its exceptional electrical, thermal, optical, and mechanical properties, which can enhance the performance of various materials while reducing their carbon footprint. An extraordinarily light material, a single sheet of graphene large enough to cover a whole football field can weigh under one gram. It is 10,000 times thinner than a human hair and can take a billion stress cycles before it breaks, making it one of the most fatigue-resistant materials. Recent research has shown that graphene-based materials can profoundly impact composites, specialty coatings, electronic and optoelectronic devices, chemical sensors, nanocomposites, and energy storage.
CUMI’s innovations in graphene
The company’s scientists and experts are exploring the application of graphene in many areas, including energy storage, renewable energy, automotive, manufacturing, construction, defence, and aerospace. With its lightweight, high strength, flexibility, and high thermal/electrical conductivity, graphene has emerged as the most ideal material for various applications in these industries. For the aerospace and defence industry, the company is working on developing graphene-based composites which can be used to create lighter and stronger aerostructures and body armor products. CUMI’s research team has filed a patent for the preparation of highly conductive grades of nitrogen-doped graphene through instantaneous thermal processing. This grade of graphene finds applications in supercapacitors, batteries, and fuel cells. With extensive R&D backing it, CUMI has emerged as a pioneer in the field of graphene research and applications, and the company is confident that graphene will revolutionize the materials industry in the years to come.
Image Source: Carborundum Universal Ltd