Graphene Research Hub opens at University of Adelaide

Monday, 11 December, 2017

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The ARC Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation was officially opened at the University of Adelaide last week, in a move that is expected to deliver major economic and scientific benefits to both the state and the nation.

The Research Hub supports research and development around new applications and industries based on graphene in a partnership between universities and industry partners. Originally announced in May 2016, it has been 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.

Described by some as the miracle material of the 21st century, graphene has unique properties and is so thin that one gram of graphene can cover the size of a football oval. It is produced from graphite, which is mined from the ground. South Australia has the largest deposit of high-quality graphite in Australia, at 200 million tonnes.

“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 antibacterial properties,” said Professor Dusan Losic, director of the Research Hub.

“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 Hub will develop high-value products and innovative solutions for industries as diverse as agriculture, mining, construction, medical technologies and defence. The Adelaide research group are already working on a new generation of fire-retardant products, construction materials, protective coatings for defence and industrial applications, and new electrical devices and super-batteries.

The Hub also has a training component with a cohort of postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

The University of Adelaide will lead the new ARC Research Hub with collaborators at Monash University, the University of Melbourne and the University of South Australia. The commercial partners are Archer Exploration, Ziltek, Qingdao Huagao Graphene Technology, First Graphene and Cleanfuture Energy Australia.

“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,” said Professor Losic. “We have a vision of South Australia becoming the ‘Graphene Valley’ of Australia.”

Image credit: © Mark

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