New reactors to be built and commissioned by Tantec A/S represent another step forward towards the commercialisation of graphene.
Press release: Haydale, the company focused on enabling technology for the commercialisation of graphene, has entered into an exclusive development and supply agreement with Tantec A/S (Tantec), a leading manufacturer of standard and customised plasma reactors.
This rolling two year contract will enable Haydale, in collaboration with Tantec, to continue to develop its plasma functionalisation process to meet customer specific needs, both in terms of quantity of materials and the level of functionalisation required.
The commercialisation of graphene, and hence increased demand, requires the correct functionalisation of the right material to improve its dispersion and bonding. This then leads to enhanced material properties. Haydale's plasma process provides this solution, and the collaboration with Tantec will facilitate Haydale providing properly functionalised graphene consistently, with the ability to scale up volumes to accommodate future demand.
After the successful commission of the first bespoke Tantec-built reactor in June of this year, Tantec will build and commission two new reactors to increase capacity. Due for completion in December 2014, the new reactors are a significant improvement over the previous units, offering greater control and precision providing positive impact on performance. An added feature is the ability to remotely monitor and control the reactor which is essential for installation into a customer production facility.
Haydale has recently been testing the functionalisation of resins for use in composite materials and has seen significant improvements in material properties including toughness, as well as an increase in excess of 200% in the ultimate tensile strength when using just 2% loading of Haydale functionalised graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs). This corroborates previously reported third party studies when using HDPLas® materials, including research undertaken by The Aerospace Corporation (J.APPL.POLYM.SCI 2014, DOI: 10.1002/APP.40802).
Haydale using Tantec plasma products and technology
Ray Gibbs, CEO at Haydale, commented: "Having already commissioned our first Tantec reactor and established a track record of performance to date, we are confident in its engineering and build quality. As a result, we agreed an exclusive supply agreement and ordered two new units. These machines not only provide us with required capacity increase but a flexible operating capability to rapidly meet customer requirements. We also have a continual program of reactor developments to enhance the features and benefits of the machines which are expected to generate additional intellectual property to add to our existing "family" of patents."
He continued: "The market reaction to the third party verification of our process and the results we have obtained with customers have led to enquiries for the use under license of a reactor. We have therefore ordered a larger unit to provide us with further capacity but also act as our "licensing" demonstrator. The Haydale view is that the market today does not currently require tonnes of functionalised graphene but rather the confidence in the materials performance and the consistent replication of that performance. The expectation is that demand will grow quickly with increasing confidence in the performance improvements seen when using graphene and the subsequent launch of graphene enhanced products."
"Tantec is looking forward to working and to developing its relationship with Haydale and we are pleased to have reached this agreement with a company that has the know-how to use our reactors to functionalise materials to meet the specific needs of their customers."Kim Saabye, European Sales Director and partner in Tantec
Graphene has great potential to transform the composites industry, but is effectively inert and consequently it is difficult to bond it with or disperse it within other materials. In order to optimise the material's physical and mechanical properties, good dispersion and structural uniformity of the nanoparticles is the key to making real progress, and these results support the proposition that specific functionalisation is necessary without damaging the material structure or adding impurities. Alternative methods for functionalising graphene involve thermal and chemical shocking agents which whilst allowing for scalable production, can cause significant damage to the material's structure, leading to defects in the final product.
Read more about Graphene on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphene
See the original press release on haydale.com: http://www.haydale.com/media/news-stories/Haydale-Secures-Exclusive-Development-and-Supply-Agreement-with-Tantec/