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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K016784/1
Title: Engineering innovation in graphene nanocomposites for consumer product and packaging applications
Principal Investigator: Coleman, Professor K
Other Investigators:
Clarke, Professor N Thompson, Dr RL
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Durham Graphene Science Dyson Limited Procter & Gamble
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 February 2013 Ends: 31 July 2017 Value (£): 1,633,244
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
15 Nov 2012 Graphene Engineering Interview Announced
31 Oct 2012 Graphene Engineering Sift Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The potential areas for applications of polymer nanocomposites (a plastic containing a nanometre scale filler material) extend from aerospace and automotive industries to medical and consumer products. Such nanocomposites offer exciting step changes in both structural and functional material performance because the interfacial area between the nanofiller and polymer is greater by orders of magnitude when compared to traditional composites containing glass or carbon fibre filler. Graphene promises to be the ultimate nanofiller having outstanding and often unsurpassed electronic, mechanical and thermal properties. However, to date true commercial applications have yet to be realised or implemented due to lack of understanding in how the material and dispersions behave under melt conditions. This project will tackle these issues head-on to develop a high-volume, low-cost graphene engineering technology that will enable commercialisation of the unique structural properties of graphene nanocomposites in consumer products.

Consumer product applications are the focus of this project as they are early adopters of new technology and offer an ideal market for testing new developments. Melt processing is crucial in determining the performance of the final consumer product. The comparable length-scales between graphene nanofillers and the polymer chains provide a new challenge for composite formulation and processing: strong flows impact the stretching of polymer chains and the ordering, orientation and dispersion of the nanofiller. Control of these nanoscale phenomena by combining process-engineering technologies with new knowledge and methodologies from the chemical and physical sciences provides a platform for realising the commercial potential of graphene nanocomposites: enhanced mechanical, anti-static and barrier properties would deliver consumer benefits through better product performance and extended product life and business and environmental benefits through less raw material being consumed and transported. The industrial partners Procter and Gamble (P&G), a global consumer goods company; Dyson, a domestic appliance technology company; and Durham Graphene Science (DGS), a large-scale producer of graphene will work directly alongside the academic partners in the formulation, processing and prototyping of the graphene composites to deliver maximum impact in potential new consumer products.

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