Processors, and especially those active in the automotive and consumer goods sectors, have the opportunity to join a project to demonstrate how the mechanical, electrical, thermal and barrier properties of thermoplastics can be improved by introducing graphene to the material. Twelve companies and four research institutes already are participating. Companies would have input into the specification of properties, applications, and markets.
Gordon Bishop, managing director at NetComposites, which is organizing the project, says many of these already signed up for it are involved in producing aerospace applications, but the project organizer hopes to broaden the participants' list to include plastics processors involved in other markets. The dozen participants does include Tier 1 suppliers to sectors such as auto and consumer goods, but he'd like to involve more processors too. To participate as a formal members of the partnership, then a company needs to be based in Europe. "However, there is also an opportunity for end-users to be involved in a steering/advisory role in a less formal capacity, which includes non-European organizations," explained Bishop.
NetComposites (Chesterfield,England) was created at the end of 2000 to develop and exploit new composite materials technologies. The company is active in applied research, development and consultancy. For this project, it anticipates that funding will be through the European Commission's Framework 7 funding program.
Reinforcing polymers with graphene nano platelets can dramatically improve a plastic's mechanical properties. NetComposites hopes this project can help develop this technology for a range of application areas, including electronics, lighting, packaging and structural components. The project will concentrate on thermoplastic masterbatches and compounds that can be used in a range of plastics processes and additive manufacturing methods (selective laser sintering and fused deposition modeling).