NeoGraf Solutions, LLC has long been actively involved in producing and investigating advances in the high performance graphite market. Examining the potential benefits of graphene for a wide array of industries and products is part of our commitment to create new opportunities for our customers, and within our industry. Although graphene can not yet be manufactured cost effectively on a large scale, we will continue to learn and contribute our expertise in R&D, cost effective manufacturing, and commercialization to create new opportunities, applications and market acceptance of graphene materials.
Leveraging NeoGraf’s Material Science Expertise
Our team at NeoGraf remains focused on developing and manufacturing high-performance natural and synthetic graphite sheets and additives. We are also invested in continuing to explore up-and-coming, emerging graphene and graphite type technologies, or other complementary nanotechnologies that can benefit customers in various market segments. Our newly announced membership in the Graphene Council combines our over 135 years of manufacturing excellence and innovation in graphite material science with other esteemed members of the organization who want to help drive the graphene industry forward.
NeoGraf currently offers industry-leading graphite products used in consumer electronics, high performance computing, building and construction, roofing, insulation, automotive, and niche applications for military and aerospace. We produce heat spreaders that go into laptops, phones, TVs, and other products that are finished components. We sell graphite powders direct to compounders and masterbatches, including graphene nanoplatelets.
Our graphite products include:
- eGraf® – an array of thermal management solutions for electronic applications.
- Graf+® graphite powders & graphene nanoplatelets – can be added to a range of polymers to enhance thermal and electrical conductivity, reduce degradation to UV radiation, and increase insulation value in foams and boards.
- GrafGuard® expandable graphite flakes – non-halogenated fire retardant additives for materials that require improved fire-protection characteristics including wood, foam, plastics, roofing and other construction and building materials.
- GraFoil® flexible graphite – the first fluid sealing material made exclusively from pure, natural graphite flake. Its resistance to heat, fire, corrosion, and aggressive chemicals make it the most universally applicable sealing solution on the market today.
What Is and Isn’t Graphene
It is important to understand that the term graphene is misused substantially in the current marketplace. This can be a source of frustration and confusion for customers. While true graphene is likely in the marketplace, it is very difficult for customers to verify product claims. Verifying this nanomaterial requires expensive, sophisticated procedures and equipment, so customers are left to rely on the honesty and integrity of the manufacturer.
At NeoGraf, we are very clear. Our focus is currently in the graphene nanoplatelet arena, where some of our materials are close to being classified as graphene. Our materials are multiple layers of graphene, in the range of 30 to 150 layers thick, with surface areas approaching 100 m2/g which isn’t that far from graphene. While we don’t yet produce single layer graphene, it is a material opportunity we are well suited to explore from a market standpoint.
Our membership in the Graphene Council is proving invaluable as it is one major way we can collaborate with other industry leaders to help measure and characterize graphene products.
Potential Opportunities & Applications for Graphene
Graphene’s electrical, thermal, and barrier properties make it well suited to a wide array of applications and products, especially when compared to traditional graphitic materials. Graphene is ideal for composites and polymers, building and construction materials, coatings, such as paint, and more.
For example, Graphene can:
- Enhance the electrical thermal and barrier properties of traditional plastics and polymers.
- Improve the anti-corrosion and barrier properties within coatings, paints, thin films, and concrete.
- Increase the conductivity and inertness of the reinforcement materials within concrete, significantly prolonging structures, especially bridges.
- Displace the amount of carbon fiber used in certain applications, using a much lower ratio of graphene versus carbon fiber.
- Improve radar reflection abilities of stealth aircraft military applications. Graphene coatings are transparent, yet they reflect signals quite effectively.
Potential Challenges for Implementing Graphene
The greatest challenge facing some of these potential new graphene applications is how to get it into a product effectively and efficiently without producing the agglomeration effects experienced with carbon black or even traditional graphite nanoparticle materials. As the surface areas of these products increase, it can cause a major problem from a compounding standpoint. Existing equipment is not able to handle the rapid changes in the viscosity of graphene containing materials. Questions remain as to how an OEM will decide to add graphene to products, whether it’s a dispersion or a masterbatch.
Graphene’s stability in a medium, whether it’s a masterbatch or a dispersion that will be compatible with what an application requires, is a significant issue that remains unanswered. A lot of very specific research in surface edge modification is needed in order to make sure graphene is compatible with each individual system.
A Commitment to Product and Industry Innovations
Product and industry innovations have factored significantly into NeoGraf Solutions’ history. In the 1980s, we not only created a graphite fluid-sealing solution to replace asbestos, but also built a market around it. In the 1990s, NeoGraf introduced the first graphite thermal interface material for use in DC-DC converters, plasma and LCD televisions, and more.
NeoGraf is committed to contributing our expertise in research and development, as well as cost effective manufacturing and commercialization to help create new opportunities, applications and market acceptance of graphene materials. Contact us today to learn more about why we believe consumer electronics, transportation, building and construction and industrial applications are the most attractive markets for graphene product adoption.
Graf+® graphite powders can be added to a range of polymers to enhance thermal and electrical conductivity, reduce degradation to UV radiation, and increase insulation value in