(2015-07-31) The Australian company Metals of Africa has announced that it has produced graphene from material mined at its Montepuez Central graphite project in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
The project lies near Syrah Resources’ Balama graphite project which holds the largest known deposit of graphite in the world, at an estimated 1.15 billion tonnes.
According to Metals of Africa, three processes were tested with the thermal method producing results comparable with synthetic graphene. It stressed that this process is simple and scalable.
Metals of Africa’s Managing Director Cherie Leeden stated, “the fact that our graphite can produce both graphene oxide and graphene is extremely exciting. Laboratory tests have verified that the quality of our graphene is comparable to synthetically derived graphene, which is a very high value material with an ever increasing number of applications, particularly in the battery and energy space”.
Graphene has been heralded as a ‘miracle material’ for its special properties. It is the strongest material ever measured and has truly vast potential for use in the electronics industry.
Graphene is a layer of carbon one atom thick. It is the best conductor of heat and electricity ever discovered. In addition, it is being studied for applications in spintronics, a field of physics looking at the behaviour of electrons. This could lead to exciting new advances in quantum computing.
The huge potential is enhanced by graphene’s flexibility and its ability to be woven into complex structures. Furthermore, it can be added to ink at used to print electrodes.
Graphene also offers a solution to the modern day problem of battery life in mobile technology. Whilst current batteries in devices such as mobile phones and laptops take hours to charge, supercapacitors made from graphene could be charged in minutes and would be much thinner and lighter.
According to the technology company Graphenea, “being able to create supercapacitors out of graphene will possibly be the largest step in electronic engineering in a very long time. While the development of electronic components has been progressing at a very high rate over the last 20 years, power storage solutions such as batteries and capacitors have been the primary limiting factor due to size, power capacity and efficiency”.
In 2010 Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov, from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on graphene.
The University of Manchester hosts the National Graphene Institute. It is funded by the British government and the European Union, and works with industry to develop commercial uses for graphene.
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