UK-based graphene developer Haydale and The University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre have signed an extension to their partnership that marks a milestone in the journey to commercialise the nanomaterial.
The agreement with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) will see Haydale, a global technology solutions company, remain a Tier 1 Partner for a sixth year.
Haydale were early adopters and therefore among the very first partners to sign up and join the GEIC when it opened its doors and embarked on its journey of commercialisation in 2018. At the time interest in graphene was growing in the commercial world; but it remained to be seen just how ready industry was in adopting graphene into existing products – or go one step further and use it to develop new and disruptive technologies.
Now, as the partnership enters a sixth year, both organisations are delighted to see the progress working in collaboration has brought to the industry, particularly through the adoption of plasma functionalisation technology and commercialisation of graphene and other 2D materials.
James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, explains: “Too often graphene has been seen as a magic dust that can be sprinkled into a product to transform its performance. Even if you’re lucky and achieve positive results, this ad hoc approach is usually non-replicable or able to be developed with a reliable quality control to earn market confidence.
“Haydale’s pioneering work to functionalise graphene has created a supply of material that is industry-ready and is tuned to optimise performance in the specific application requested by the end-user and we are delighted that the partnership has been part of this journey.”
Alongside their industry leading test facilities, as part of the partnership agreement, the GEIC will continue to use one of Haydale’s HT60 plasma reactors, which has been fundamental in growing the knowledge of functionalisation and its importance in unlocking the potential of graphene and other 2D materials. The clean chemistry process offers a way of activating inert materials, so they perform in application but in an environmentally-friendly way.
Access to unique engineering knowhow, world-class science and specialist R&D capability has seen the maturity of joint developments between Haydale and the GEIC, most notably the graphene-enhanced carbon composite body panels for the BAC Mono R road-legal sports car, technology that Haydale has now seen application in composite tooling with Prodrive and resin infusion for the sports and leisure sectors. More recently, the teams have developed novel coating processes combining Haydale’s prepreg and ink products, as well as help to optimise Haydale’s 3D printing product range for volume application.
Commenting on the continued partnership, Keith Broadbent, CEO of Haydale, said: “We have been working with the GEIC from the very beginning to enhance graphene and nanomaterials and bring them into a commercial space. I am excited to see what the next stage of the partnership will bring. We have seen a seismic shift from graphene push to market pull as more customers know what they want. Customers are driving momentum and together we can continue the commercialisation journey.”
This is a sentiment shared by James Baker, who added: “Five years on from the opening of the GEIC the market landscape for nanomaterials has matured quickly, and advanced materials are recognised as being critical in providing solutions to the big global challenges.
“Haydale’s vision has always been to provide the graphene supply chain with a premium product that can add real value – and they know exactly how to do this.”
The ongoing partnership will continue to build trust with wider industry and provide a solid foundation for the adoption of graphene and other 2D materials as advanced materials become increasingly critical in providing solutions to some of the biggest global challenges.
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