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Oldham manufacturer makes graphene breakthrough

James Briggs, a chemicals manufacturer based in Oldham, is set to become the first company to commercialise ‘wonder material’ graphene within high performance protective paints.

James Briggs, a chemicals manufacturer based in Oldham, is set to become the first company to commercialise ‘wonder material’ graphene within high performance protective paints.  

As part of a joint project with Applied Graphene Materials plc (AGM), a graphene development specialist in Durham, James Briggs’ technical centre will begin incorporating ‘nanoplatelets’ of the pioneering 2D material into its existing paint formulations.

Adding graphene is expected to significantly improve the protective properties of the paint. Its 2D structure, consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms, means it is super-strong, super-conductive and ultra-flexible.

The two businesses will also be collaborating on potential applications for lubrication products given the improved friction properties offered by the application of graphene.

Gaining traction

Despite only recently being discovered in 2004, using graphene as an additive to existing products is already starting to gain traction. 

In January 2016 another local paint manufacturer, Manchester-based HMG Paints, joined a four-year EU-funded project to use graphene to develop highly efficient ‘thermosetting’ coatings and adhesives for industry components.

The University of Manchester also recently launched a new company to further the development and commercialisation of graphene-enhanced products, with its first raft of product demonstrators expected to be delivered in 2017.

Taking advantage

Tim Pugh, chief executive of James Briggs Ltd, said: “We are keen to become the first specialist chemicals and coatings company to take advantage of this exciting new technology.

“The detailed understanding that AGM brings in maximising the performance of graphene is impressive and we look forward to rapidly incorporating this into our own extensive range of high performance products.”

James Briggs aims to launch a new range of high performing graphene-enhanced primers in early 2017. The company announced a record financial year for 2015/16 and is looking to build its presence in international markets.