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Graphene, the wonder material, goes textile

wallpapers News 2020-10-03

What does a graphite or lead pencil have to do with a spectacular discovery in the world of materials research? Graphene is a single layer of carbon just one atom thick, in the form of a honeycomb lattice made up of hexagons. This layer, just a few nanometres thick, can only be seen under a scanning tunnelling microscope and holds within it the technology of tomorrow. The material is multifunctional: ultra-thin and therefore transparent, an extremely efficient conductor of electricity and heat, with higher tensile strength than steel, yet flexible and abrasionresistant and impermeable to gases.

These outstanding properties of graphene mean that it has many potential uses in industry. While research is making rapid progress especially in the field of conductivity, the use of graphene in the textile sector has so far been somewhat overlooked.

This is where a research project run by scientists at the Hohenstein Institut für Textilinnovation gGmbH in Bönnigheim, in partnership with the companies IoLiTec Ionic Liquids Technologies GmbH and FUCHSHUBER TECHNOTEX-GmbH from Lichtenstein, and Belgian project partners Centexbel and Soieries Elite, comes in. The team led by Project Manager Dr. Roshan Paul is working within the EU research funding programme "M-era.Net" on the German sub-project called "GRAFAT – Using graphene for the surface modification of textiles in heat protective clothing" (sponsorship ID 03X0157A). "Over the next three years, the consortium will be investigating to what extent the surface of textiles can be changed using graphene modifications, in particular with a view to later applying the process to heat protective clothing. Graphene has all kinds of positive properties which would revolutionise this sector. This research makes us world leaders in using graphene modification on textile surfaces," says Dr. Paul. The transformation of the various graphene modifications into stable aqueous dispersions is being carried out by Iolitec.


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