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Graphene rubber firm bounces out of Manchester University

Two Manchester academics have founded a business to offer consultancy services to manufacturers who could benefit from performance-enhancing graphene in rubber composites and elastomers.

Grafine Ltd is looking to exploit the potential of the massive global market in elastomers and rubbers, which are used the world over in products such as tyres, shoes, gloves, industrial components, construction materials, coatings and medical devices. 

The company will be based at The University of Manchester’s Innovation Centre and run by graphene experts Dr Maria Iliut and Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, who specialise in making rubbers and elastomers stronger and more durable.

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

Dr Maria Iliut and Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan

According to the scientists, there has already been excited interest from global manufacturers in the market.

Dr Vijayaraghavan explained:

Graphene can further enhance the already excellent properties of rubber and elastomers by improving their strength, elasticity, flexibility, thermal stability, resistance to chemicals and durability.

“By working with Grafine Ltd, manufactures will be able to accelerate the speed with which they can bring these new elastomer composites to market while reducing risk and lowering cost”.

British sports brand inov-8 has already worked with Dr Vijayaraghavan to utilise graphene in the rubber soles of its high-performance running shoes, which have been scientifically tested to be 50 per cent stronger, 50 per more elastic and 50 per cent harder-wearing than previous versions.

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