Global graphene glory-hunt could include concretes

Recent research carried out by a UK tech patent firm has revealed the extent of graphene research, since the novel material’s discovery less than a decade ago.

The material, which comprises just a single layer of carbon atoms, offers a great deal of potential for many different applications. Most particularly, it is thought that it offers huge promise in the IT, energy and medical fields.

It is little surprise, therefore, that thousands of patents are being registered across the globe. In China, over 2,200 patent publications are known, while the U.S. falls just shy of 1,800, according to the CambridgeIP study.

There are also more than 1,000 entities in South Korea. With Samsung Electronics being the highest graphene patent requester though, this is perhaps no surprise.

However, while flexible touchscreens and improved batteries are leading the graphene charge, a closely related composite material could interest concrete flooring contractors.

Researchers at the Monash University in Melbourne have found that graphene oxide (GO) could provide an effective strengthening ingredient to concrete flooring.

Presently, many industrial concrete floors are reinforced with steel and other fibres. Using GO instead would significantly lighten the weight of the floors, providing even greater strength and driving down costs.

The University is presently looking for help to develop the patent protected technology with someone in the construction industry.

Such development could soon take place in the UK too. While UK patent entities for graphene presently only amount to 54, the UK government and private businesses are building a £100m National Graphene Institute located on the campus of Manchester University – where graphene was first discovered in 2004.

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