Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has praised the “brilliant work” underway in Manchester to support the development of innovative new products using the ‘wonder material’ graphene.
The mayor was taken on a fact-finding tour of facilities at the University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) in January.
The industry-facing centre specialises in the development, application and scale-up of graphene, which is an incredibly strong, conductive and flexible ‘2D’ material made from a single layer of carbon atoms.
In December 2019, the centre opened its doors to showcase how the material is being used to pioneer new products across a wide range of industries.
During his tour, Andy Burnham - a running enthusiast - was shown the world’s first-ever running shoes to use graphene, created by sports footwear company inov-8 in the Lake District.
By collaborating with graphene experts in Manchester, inov-8 has developed a graphene-enhanced rubber which it uses for outsoles in a range of running and fitness shoes. In testing the shoes outlasted 1,000 miles of use and were proven to be 50 per cent stronger, 50 per cent more elastic and 50 per cent harder wearing.
Andy Burnham said:
“Manchester is the home of graphene - and when you see the brilliant work and the products now being developed with the help of the Graphene@Manchester team it’s clear why this city region maintains global leadership in research and innovation around this fantastic advanced material.
“I have been very impressed with the exciting model of innovation the University has pioneered in our city-region, with the GEIC playing a vital role by working with its many business partners to take breakthrough science from the lab and apply it to real world challenges.
“Thanks to world firsts, like the graphene running shoe, the application of graphene is now gaining real pace. In fact, the experts say we are approaching a tipping point for graphene commercialisation – and this is being led right here in Greater Manchester.”