Research and development around new applications and industries based on the advanced material graphene — hailed as the “miracle material of the 21st century” — is the focus of a new Graphene Research Hub being launched at the University of Adelaide.
The ARC Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation will develop high-value products and innovative solutions for industries as diverse as agriculture, mining, construction, medical technologies, and defense.
The Research Hub is supporting commercialization of graphene research in a partnership between universities and industry partners. It is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council’s Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme with a $2.6 million grant, with industry partners contributing over $3 million.
Graphene is produced from graphite which is mined from the ground. South Australia has the largest deposit of high quality of graphite in Australia, at 200 million tons. Graphene has unique properties and is so thin that one gram of graphene can cover the size of a football oval.
“Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms that holds unrivalled material properties — it’s the thinnest, strongest, lightest material known, with the greatest surface area, and the best electrical and thermal conductivity properties of any other material, as well as being flexible, water repellent and non-toxic with some anti-bacterial properties,” says Professor Dusan Losic, Director of the ARC Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation, which is based in the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering.
“It has the potential for new disruptive technology that will change our lives and create new industries, the same as silicon did 60 years ago.”
The research group in Adelaide are already working on a new generation of fire retardant products, construction materials, advanced protective coatings for defense and industrial applications including slow-release fertilizers; and new electrical devices and super-batteries.
“The aim is that our research will transform industry and support Australian businesses to embrace cutting-edge innovation and technologies that deliver high-value returns and build new industries,” Losic says. “We have a vision of South Australia becoming the ‘Graphene Valley’ of Australia.”
The University of Adelaide will lead the new ARC Research Hub with collaborators at Monash University, University of Melbourne, and University of South Australia. The commercial partners are Archer Exploration Limited, Ziltek Pty Ltd, Qingdao Huagao Graphene Technology Corporation Limited, First Graphene Limited, and Cleanfuture Energy Australia Pty Ltd.
The Hub also has a training component with a cohort of postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
The ARC Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation is the third industrial transformation hub led by the University of Adelaide. It already has the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Wheat in a Hot and Dry Climate, based at the Waite campus, and the ARC Research Hub for Australian Copper-Uranium.
Source: University of Adelaide