‘Wonder material’ graphene charts course into space
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Building satellites is no easy business: the components need strength, extremely high heat resistance and shielding against radiation.
ASX-listed First Graphene has just signed a deal to help protect satellite components with a product called graphene — which is often referred to as a modern “wonder material“.
The company today announced a binding deal with Asian satellite assembler SupremeSAT to develop graphene-enhanced components for miniature satellites.
Graphene-enhanced products are said to be stronger and lighter while offering heat and radiation shielding. It’s a recently discovered material made from sheets of carbon as thin as one atom.
First Graphene opened a graphene production plant in Fremantle, Western Australia in November.
SupremeSAT is building miniature satellites to be sent into low orbit with components on board to gather data about the earth’s atmosphere.
For First Graphene (ASX:FGR), it’s a way to tap into what it says is a potential $6 billion market for satellite technology by 2025.
“This represents a promising new field of opportunity for the deployment of graphene,” the company said.
SupremeSAT is based in Sri Lanka at South Asia’s only private space research centre.
The project also includes Bulgarian EnduroSAT — which will provide hardware, training and engineering support — as well as researchers from two US universities.
The shares rose 9 per cent to 19c in early Wednesday trade.
First Graphene recently raised $3.2 million at 18c.
The company produces graphene from high-grade Sri Lankan vein graphite. It is aiming for up to 200 tonnes a year.
Graphene is the subject of many superlatives. It’s been called “as versatile a material as any discovered on Earth”. Beyond satellite components it has a broad range of applications including better batteries, sensors, electronics, membranes and even drug delivery.
“Its amazing properties as the lightest and strongest material, compared with its ability to conduct heat and electricity better than anything else, means it can be integrated into a huge number of applications,” First Graphene told investors.
“Initially this will mean graphene is used to help improve the performance and efficiency of current materials and substances, but in the future, it will also be developed in conjunction with other two-dimensional crystals to create some even more amazing compounds to suit an even wider range of applications.”