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University of Manchester unveils national graphene service

A new service has been launched to help companies cash in on the potential of the wonder material graphene, which is being applied to a huge array of products from paint to running shoes.

Graphene, first isolated from graphite by Manchester scientist in 2004, is the world’s strongest and thinnest material – 200 times stronger than steel and only a single atom thick.

Commercially, it comes in several forms such as flakes in a powder or liquid. With international standards still in their infancy, the service will help companies to verify the quality and properties of the graphene they are working with.

The many potential applications of graphene include: water purification systems; more efficient cars and planes; flexible phones, batteries and solar cells; more effective sensor technologies; high-durability paints; super-efficient LED lighting; and even longer-lasting running shoes.

British sports brand inov-8 has just launched a graphene-enhanced rubber sole for running shoes that outlasted 1,000 miles of use in testing. The sole has been scientifically tested to be 50 per cent stronger, 50 per cent more elastic and 50 per cent harder wearing than its predecessor.

Commenting on the new graphene verification service, Graham Stuart, minister for investment at the Department for International Trade, said:

“Graphene is a revolutionary product that can make internet connections faster, filter salt water and make phone screens unbreakable.

“By making an unprecedented commitment to R&D, we will guarantee that British companies are at the forefront of manufacturing and design for years to come, creating global demand as well as British jobs and prosperity.”

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