Graphene hype starts to become reality

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It’s stronger than steel but flexible it’s super conductive but transparent graphene is a two-dimensional form of carbon just one atom thick with a hexagonal structure but where are the mind-blowing technologies we were promised the ultralight aircraft or folding smartphones there’s been a lot of hype and not a lot of end product until now in northern england lake

District fell running enthusiasts are testing the latest range of shoes from innovate the shoes large protruding grip is designed for running over muddy hills and the company claims mixing the rubber soles with graphene makes them 50% stronger 50% more elastic the sports industry has been known for coming up with some some gimmicks over a period of time but graphene

Is really meaningful and how we know that we’re working with a university so that university stamps on the product and says write this really does perform and deliver the 50% improved durability the university is manchester it’s here that graphene was first isolated the city is already home to the national graphene institute and in december it will be joined by the

60 million pound graphene engineering innovation center or geek it’s where companies will partner with academics to test graphene before taking products to market this vast cavernous space at the university of manchester looks much like a factory and it’s where businesses will come in a few weeks times take graphene and put it into products that could transform our

Everyday lives it’s part of manchester’s bid to remain at the forefront of the graphene industry worldwide on the university side this about 14,000 students studying in the field already three of the companies that have formed part of the partnerships with a geek have brought new jobs in we’re seeing that seeing new collaborations so of course our chinese friends

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Friends across the uk and collaborations across the markets that this will become a supply chain to automotive and aerospace industries around the northwest but britain has a poor record at turning its ideas into products and china is determined to win the race to commercialize graphene analysts say that along with taiwan it produces three-quarters of world supply

Global sales now are 40 million dollars should hit 300 million dollars a year by 2027 china also holds half of graphene patterns david banks is chairman of one of the companies working with the geek historically we’ve either failed to do it or it’s taken incredible long time normally 25 years when a new materials discovered we have got to make that happen quicker

The uk through the universities is still at the forefront significant amounts of money have been invested by china also through through manchester but at home they’re spending billions of dollars a year in this area which we obviously can’t compete with so far graphene has been limited to improving existing materials such as the way innovate mixes it with rubber

To improve shoe soles so when will we see applications that change the world graphene has a new material it still got some challenges but what you’re seeing with graphene is graphene is an additive if you like so adding graphing to a rubber graphing to a resin graphene as a coating noting the excitement is still to come and you’ve got this spiral development which

Is probably more attractive to industry but today they can get a small benefit maybe in the two to five year window they can get a significant benefit or maybe the five to ten they can get more of that disruptive type of benefit the excitement around graphene hasn’t gone away but it has cooled as engineers struggle to produce it in a form that can be easily worked

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And it might be sometimes we see it used in truly disruptive applications manchester may have a lead but it’s in a global race to bring those products to market you

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Graphene hype starts to become reality By Financial Times

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