Scientists at Imperial College London are set to receive over 4.5 million of public funding to investigate how the 'super material' graphene can drive improvements in high-tech industries, such as aerospace design and medical technologies.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, today announced 21.5 million of capital investment to commercialise graphene, one of the thinnest, lightest, strongest and most conductive materials to have been discovered, marked by the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics as one of the world's most ground breaking scientific achievements.
Three research projects at Imperial will share the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding as part of a new programme with a number of industrial partners, including aeroplane manufacturer Airbus. The scientists receiving the grant hope to develop graphene technologies that will contribute to the UK economy and can be applied by industries around the world.
Professor Neil Alford, deputy principal for research in Imperial's Faculty of Engineering, who is playing a key role in one of the new projects, said: "This is a tremendous opportunity for UK science and industry. The new funding will enable us to bring graphene a step closer to useful applications, by helping us explore the physical and mechanical properties of this remarkable material, as well as its behaviour at high frequency."
In one project worth 1.35 million, led by Professor Tony Kinloch from the Department of Mechanical Engineering with colleagues from the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, researchers will explore how combining graphene with current materials can improve the properties of aeroplane parts, such as making them resistant to lightning-strikes. They hope the same technology can also be used to develop coatings for wind-turbine blades, to make them scratch resistant and physically tougher in extreme weather conditions.
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