By now, just about everyone has likely at least heard of graphene. It's made up of a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms, linked together in a honeycomb pattern – it also happens to be the world's strongest material. With that in mind, it's only fitting that someone has recently gone and used it in a high-end motorcycle helmet.
The Graphene Helmet is the result of an 18-month collaboration between Italian luxury brand Momodesign and the Italian Institute of Technology's Graphene Labs division – the latter is in turn a member of the Graphene Flagship development project.
Because graphene is so thin and also relatively expensive to produce, the whole helmet isn't made of it. Instead, a coating of multi-layer graphene flakes has been sprayed onto the outside of the helmet's shell. This takes place on an existing production line, at a manufacturing plant in Northern Italy.
The main effect of adding the coating is an increase in the helmet's strength, as it distributes the force of impacts across a wider area. Because graphene is an excellent thermal conductor, however, the coating also helps to boost rider comfort by dissipating heat. Additionally, because of the heat dissipation factor, the helmet's impact-resistance isn't significantly affected by high ambient temperatures.
A limited initial run of 3,000 Graphene Helmets is being produced for sale at the end of this year – a Momodesign rep tells us that they will be priced at approximately €245 (about US$260). The company plans to expand its line of graphene-augmented helmets in the future, and to continue working with the Italian Institute of Technology on methods of adding graphene to the helmets' inner plastic materials.
As a side note, while this is reportedly the world's first graphene motorcycle helmet, Catlike does already offer graphene bicycle helmets.