CSIRO develops a new form of graphitic material that is cheap and easy to produce

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CSIRO has developed a new form of graphitic material that could find application across a broad spectrum of industries.

Dubbed “GraphON” to reflect the presence of oxygen and nitrogen in its carbon based structure, the new material is conductive, easy to apply and offers greater control over performance then graphene, making ideal for use in industries like aerospace, defence, energy capture and storage, and printed circuit board manufacturing.

It is also cheap and easy to produce, with more flexibility and less hazardous waste than any other comparable product.

CSIRO’s Dr John Tsanaktsidis said GraphON had the potential to offer industry an innovative new way to conduct heat or electricity through a surface coating or composite structure.

“Potential uses include electrostatically dissipative coatings, electromagnetic interference shielding, electrical heating (de-icing), conductive coatings, and anticorrosion coatings,” Dr Tsanaktsidis continued.

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He said GraphON is produced by heating polymer polyaniline dinonylnaphthalenesulfonic acid, PANI.DNNSA, to temperatures as low as 650°C.

According to Dr Tsanaktsidis, this form of polyaniline can be dissolved in common organic solvents and blended with other polymers and paints.

“In addition by coating PANI.DNNSA directly onto an object, then heating it, you’re left with a conductive graphitic coating, GraphON, without the need for additional processing steps,” Dr Tsanaktsidis explained.

“What is different about GraphON is that it comes directly with imbedded heteroatoms such as nitrogen and oxygen in the graphitised material”, added Dr Tsanaktsidis.

“This unique feature of GraphON greatly improves its dispersibility in a variety of other materials and solutions.”

CSIRO scientists say manufacturing GraphON is estimated to cost less than $US2000/kg, which will certainty help drive uptake and the development of new applications with it.

“To ensure GraphON is made to the highest quality, we use flow chemistry to produce the polyaniline precursor,” Dr Tsanaktsidis said.

“This guarantees the end product is scalable, consistent, and reproducible.”

Image credit: https://www.csiro.au