Urbix Resources, a research team in Arizona, has developed the first graphene-enhanced concrete that’s lighter, stronger, and cheaper to make.
The team has made an additive with graphene that can increase the strength of concrete by 33%. It can also lower carbon emissions by 32% and reduce costs by 16% compared to other lightweight concrete options.
Scientists are fascinated with the prospects of graphene, which is made from graphite. That’s because it is the strongest material on earth – 200 times stronger than steel – but lightweight and flexible at the same time. It is also a great conductor of electricity.
Graphene is often referred to as a super material and has the potential to revolutionize many industries, but scientists are most excited about its future in the Internet of Things (IoT).
“As the world continues to apply IoT-enabled smart materials, we are creating and opening new market potentials for graphite, directly, positively, impacting graphite demand in the world,” Urbix Chairman Nicolas Cuevas told Mining.com.
He also mentioned that Urbix Resources has been working on the graphene additive since 2014. The purpose of doing that was to commercialize the graphite from a mine in Mexico.
Urbix teamed up with the Optical Science department at the University of Arizona to purify graphite without high heat and hydrofluoric acid. After various attempts, they were able to use a microwave reactor to make graphene.
They are still testing the product, but Mr. Cuevas says they will launch in 2020.
Urbix Resources believes the product is a breakthrough in the lightweight concrete market.
“The material performance of our solution for lightweight concrete is great,” Urbix Chief Marketing Officer Adam Small said in a statement. “But the low costs and large-scale capabilities are what makes this achievement so profound. By leveraging our existing global graphite mining relationships, we offer near vertical integration, an aspect that is almost mandatory for any company entering the graphene space.”
News source: Mining.com