Graphene additive finds use in higher-performing plastic film
When we think of graphene, we tend to think of its use in high-profile applications such as electronics, medical devices and construction materials. Now, however, it's been incorporated into an additive which reportedly boosts the performance of humble plastic film.
Widely hailed as a "wonder material," graphene takes the form of one-atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms linked to one another in a honeycomb pattern. Along with being the world's strongest human-made substance, it's also very flexible, stretchable and chemically stable, plus it exhibits high electrical and thermal conductivity.
With these qualities in mind, Brazilian firm Gerdau Graphene has incorporated tiny flakes of the material into an additive known as Poly-G PE-07GM.
When pellets of Poly-G are added to the resin used in the production of polyethylene film, the finished product is reportedly much stronger and more thermally stable, UV-resistant and electrically conductive than it would be otherwise.
Additionally, because the Poly-G-enhanced film is stronger than its conventional pure-polyethylene counterparts, it can be thinner. As a result, less polyethylene resin is required in its production, plus it weighs less. According to the company, these factors lead to a reduction in manufacturing and transportation costs.
In a series of industrial tests, Poly-G film was used in the packaging of construction nails. Even though the film was 25% thinner than conventional polyethylene packaging film, "far fewer" nails perforated it, resulting in a 39% reduction in the volume of nail packages being discarded due to damage.
And yes, the enhanced film is claimed to still be 100% recyclable. We've also been told that different grades of the additive can be used in the production of solid, three-dimensional polyethylene products.
The company has just announced the first commercial sale of Poly-G PE-07GM, to an undisclosed industrial client. It has also formed a partnership with the Sumitomo Corporation for distribution in Japan.
Source: Gerdau Graphene
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