Leading the race in the wonder material world of graphene
Australian technology minerals company, Talga Resources Ltd. (“Talga”) (ASX: TLG), announced promising initial test results from epoxy resin-based coatings formulated using Talga’s Talphene® branded graphene, marking a new stage for the company and highlighting the usefulness of graphene as a wonder material.
The 2004 invention of graphene production from graphite by Prof Andre Geim and Prof Kostya Novoselov, at The University of Manchester elicited a great deal of research and investment for the integration of graphene in virtually every field of materials science. Talga’s use of graphene in epoxy may mark a seminal moment in the update of graphene.
The total global epoxy sector consumed approximately 2.5 million tonnes of epoxy resins in 2014. Within this market, protective coatings were valued at USD$7.8 billion (2016) with prediction for growth up to USD $9.9 billion by 2021.
Epoxy based coatings are used in variety of applications, from indoor concrete flooring to urban construction products, and they offer attractive benefits for corrosion control. For this reason, epoxy-based coatings dominate steel protection for marine exposed infrastructure such as bridges, pipelines, oil and gas platforms & ship infrastructure and hulls.
Talga’s tests used a formulated dispersion of Talga’s few layered graphene (FLG) and graphene nanoplatelets (GNP), mixed into a two- part epoxy resin (a type of thermoset polymer) used commonly in marine coating systems. By substituting current active ingredients such as zinc with lower quantities of higher performing non-toxic graphene alternatives, the application, environmental and maintenance costs of steel vessels and infrastructure can be reduced.
Talga reported that initial test results show significantly improved coating performance including higher corrosion resistance, increased mechanical strength and higher abrasion resistance compared to the control coatings using commercial type zinc-rich epoxy.
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These results are significant because improved overall coating performance translates to lower application and infrastructure maintenance costs, coupled with environmental benefits such as reduced toxic metals. I’m curious if this also translates into a reduction of friction for ship hulls, which would result in lower energy footprint of marine transportation, and if so, reduction in the carbon footprint of the marine industry.
Reducing carbon emissions and fuel consumption is a major priority for the marine industry. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), shipping is a modest contributor to overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as a method of transport. However, the sheer scale of the international shipping industry in comparison to these other modes of transport means that overall CO2 emission remains high. The most recent report from the IMO found that international shipping alone represents roughly 2.7% of global man-made CO2 emissions – almost the same as that emitted from the aviation industry.
Talga’s formulation coupled to its novel method of incorporation into the resin aims to solve technological limitations such as heterogeneous distribution.
Talga already owns a patent (WO/2016/205862) for a mining method for production of graphene and graphitic material from an electrolytic process. But Talga has also filed a provisional patent for its resin formulating process using graphene.
Talga is now looking to optimize its graphene epoxy technology in tests with independent industry organizations, having initiated an epoxy composite development program to test Talga’s graphene epoxy technology against other commercial products, including high strength additives, for a number of functionalities including thermal and electrical conductivity.
Talga holds 100% ownership of 5 graphite assets in northern Sweden covering the full range of market flake size specifications. The most advanced of which (Vetting) hosts the world’s highest grade JORC/NI 43-101 graphite resource.
Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>