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  • Mineral Commodities and the University of Adelaide (UoA) has developed methods to produce Graphene
  • The objective of the testing was to address the production and environmental constraints associated with current methods
  • UoA test work confirmed that graphite intercalated compound (GIC) made the graphene expanded rapidly in the microwave between 3 and 20 seconds

Mineral Commodities and the University of Adelaide (UoA) has developed methods to produce Graphene.

Graphene is stronger than steel and thinner than paper, and is expected to play a significant role in the future of technology. It is also an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.

Graphene is used in batteries, computer chips, transistors, energy generators, DNA sequencing, touchscreens, antennas and much more.

In April 2018, Mineral Commodities and UoA singed a research agreement and conducted using graphite from Mungalinup Flake Graphite Project in southern Western Australia.

The graphite was characterised by using a range of specialised methods including X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), Raman Spectroscopy, Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis (TGA), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDAX).

The aim was to evaluate the properties and feasibility of the Munglinup Graphite product, in terms of producing graphene and value-added graphite materials.

The XRD analysis found the product is 100 per cent thermodynamically stable hexagonal structure, whereas most natural graphites are a mix of hexagonal and rhombohedral structures. This has a positive connection in creating lithium ion batteries.

Raman Spectroscopy results showed that the product has low defects and is highly crystalline. Raman Spectroscopy is an important technique used in characterising carbon materials.

UoA test work confirmed that graphite intercalated compound (GIC) made the graphene expanded rapidly in the microwave between 3 and 20 seconds.

The company’s graphene successfully produced oxygen functionalised graphene (OFG).

“OFG retains the structure of pristine graphene and its properties but introduces oxygen groups (C-O, C=O, O-C=O), which increases the hydrophilicity (ability to be dispersed in water and polymers),” the company stated.

The groups allow OFG to be used in materials such as inks, polymer, composites, coatings and anti-corrosion paints.

The OFG study can potentially replace current technologies, which are mainly based on non-sustainable production methods, including the harsh acids and oxidants.

Executive Chairman Mark Caruso is pleased with the progress made by UoA.

“The combination of the excellent graphene research and development expertise at the UoA, combined with our strategic objectives for the project and downstream developments, provides the foundation for integrating graphene and related products into our product suite from Munglinup,” he said.

Mineral Commodities said the objective of the testing was to address the production and environmental constraints associated with current methods.

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