Manchester-based paint manufacturer, HMG Paints, has joined an EU project to utilise the revolutionary properties of graphene to develop highly efficient coatings for industry components.
The four-year PolyGraph Project aims to develop new production techniques to deliver industrial-scale quantities of graphene-reinforced ‘thermosetting’ products such as coatings and adhesives. They will be applied where improvements are needed in the strength, stiffness, toughness, electrical conductivity and thermal properties of existing products.
The project is expected to significantly lower the overall cost of these materials and make them viable for use in composites, coatings and adhesives for several industries.
The project targets the aerospace and automotive industries as key markets for graphene-reinforced components, which could help to save fuel by reducing weight.
Specific applications could include:
- Electrically-conductive coatings that could replace heavy copper mesh in aircraft structures
- Electrostatically spray-able paints that could significantly reduce solvent use
- Tougher paints that could reduce the number of coatings required and improve surface finish, helping to reduce drag and increase damage resistance
- Enhanced adhesives that could improve anti-corrosion and structural safety.
As well as HMG Paints, the project’s consortium of 14 industry and research partners includes Fiat and BAE Systems.
Steve Crossman, business development director at HMG Paints, said: “We’re proud to be working alongside other industry leaders with a revolutionary material that was developed in our home city.
“We’re excited about developing graphene containing coating formulations and the production processes required to achieve these formulations.”
Dr Matthew Thornton, project manager at one of the Polygraph Project’s lead partners, NetComposites, added: “It is a pleasure to welcome HMG Paints into the Polygraph Project consortium.
“Their breadth of knowledge and expertise in coatings will be an invaluable asset to ensuring that the project’s aims and objectives are met and that the project continues on course to deliver commercial benefits for the aerospace, automotive, marine and defence sectors, among others.”
Graphene has already demonstrated its potential to revolutionise efficiency in a host of products and processes.
Scientists at the University of Manchester are using graphene to develop more efficient vehicles that convert waste heat into electricity, while a separate Manchester spin off is using the material to manufacture super-efficient, long-lasting LED light bulbs.