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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has almost 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »

New Company Focusing On 3D Printing With Graphene

 
November 26th, 2013 by Jeff Rowe

It’s not too often that a new material with incredible physical and electrical characteristics comes along, much less a process for turning it into products with endless possibilities. Well, that very thing happened recently when Lomiko Metals and Graphene Laboratories launched Graphene 3D Labs.

The company was formed primarily to focus on developing high-performance graphene-enhanced materials for 3D printing.

New developments in 3D printing will allow products with different components such as printed electronic circuits, sensors or batteries to be manufactured. High-quality graphite is a base material for producing graphene, and Lomiko will provide graphite to Graphene 3D Labs as the exclusive supplier to Graphene 3D Labs

Graphene is one of the crystalline forms of carbon that also include diamond, graphite, and carbon nanotubes. In this material, carbon atoms are arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern. Graphene is a one-atom thick layer of the layered mineral graphite. In essence, graphene is an isolated atomic plane of graphite. Though difficult to process, high-quality graphene is very strong, light, nearly transparent, and an excellent heat and electricity conductor. Its interaction with other materials and with light and its inherently two-dimensional nature produce unique its properties.

At the time of its isolation in 2004, many researchers studying carbon nanotubes were familiar with the composition, structure, and properties of graphene, which had been calculated decades earlier. The combination of familiarity, extraordinary properties, and surprising ease of isolation enabled an explosion in graphene research. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for groundbreaking experiments with graphene.

If you’re unfamiliar with what graphene is, check out the following video.

What is Graphene Anyway?

Graphene 3D Labs looks to be a potential solid first step into the world of Graphene, 3D printing, printed electronics, and other products and applications.

Speaking recently about the founding of Graphene 3D Lab, CEO Dr. Daniel Stolyarov said, “With this exciting new venture, we are well-positioned for continued success in accomplishing our historic goal of commercializing graphene-based materials, with a new focus on 3D printing, a novel method of manufacturing end-user goods. By combining 3D printing with graphene nanocomposites, we can expand the potential applications of 3D printing.”

How Graphene Might Change the World

Is this new material and process in danger of being overhyped? Possibly, but maybe not. A lot of promising technologies have failed to profitably translate from being novelty research projects to commercially viable products. I could name several, but won’t. This one, though, seems different, because graphene’s physical and electrical properties are so unique and its possible applications in commercial products is so vast. And, of course, there’s the 3D printing angle . . .

I don’t think anyone (except maybe investors) is looking for an overnight success, but this material and process warrant both patience and vigilance to see what eventually happens.

For more information: Graphene 3D Labs

Editor’s Note: We’ll be at Autodesk University in Las Vegas next week. If you’re attending the conference, stop by Booth #111 in the exhibit hall and say “Hello.” Hope to see you there!

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