First Graphite - Future Applications


Many of today’s airplanes are made of carbon-fibre composite, but putting graphene in the carbon-fibre coating made the plane’s wings stronger.   

It has better impact resistance and is lighter and more drag resistant than a comparable with conventional carbon-fibre wings.  The material’s strength means the wings of the plane would need to be coated with only one layer of graphene-infused carbon fibre rather than four or five layers of the conventional composite.  If you can build a stronger aircraft with less material, it’s lighter, and you’ll fly farther.  In tests, a graphene-enhanced skin on the wings improved impact damage, a standard measurement of potential in-flight damage, by at least 60 percent.

Further advantages of graphene’s relatively high electrical conductivity remain to be tested.  Conductivity protects a plane from lightning strikes, and because carbon fibre has low conductivity, current airplane wings usually include a copper mesh that provides this protection.  In theory, this copper mesh could be eliminated if graphene is used in the wing, making the plane even lighter and more fuel efficient.  Graphene’s conductivity also could be used to electrically de-ice a plane, according to a study released in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, thus eliminating the equipment costs associated with today’s chemical de-icing technology.

A thin coating of graphene nanoribbons in epoxy developed at Rice University has proven effective at melting ice on a helicopter blade.  The coating by the Rice lab may be an effective real-time de-icer for aircraft, wind turbines, transmission lines and other surfaces exposed to winter weather, according to a new paper in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

Further reading:

With the ever increasing use of portable devices with batteries the biggest issue with most mobile devices is their requirement to be constantly recharged.    

However, engineers have found graphene anodes are better at holding energy than anodes made of graphite — with faster charging up to 10x — researchers have been hard at work experimenting with graphene compounds that can be scalable, cost-efficient, but most of all, powerful.

Recently Rice University researchers found graphene mixed with vanadium oxide (a relatively inexpensive solution) can create battery cathodes that recharge in 20 seconds and retain more than 90% of their capacity, even after 1,000 cycles of use.

First Graphite is embarking on a project to earn a controlling interest in the private company which has been working with Swinburne University of Technology to advance a radically new energy storage device – the graphene-oxide based supercapacitor (“the BEST Battery”).

At the end of the project it is aimed to have developed the prototype for a high performance and manufacturable graphene or graphene oxide thin-film energy storage device which can be integrated into a wide range of products, providing faster charging speed and a stable, clean energy source.  It would be especially suitable for small electronic devices, such as those that currently use AA style batteries, but could also eventually provide reliable energy storage for a wide range of applications.

The table below provides a simple comparison of what the parties believe the BEST battery could achieve compared to the standard lithium-ion battery, based on laboratory test work undertaken to date.


Parameters Supercapacitor (BEST Battery) AA Rechargeable battery
Storage mechanismPhysicalChemical
Charge time1-10 seconds1-4 hours
Cycle lifeMinimum 10,000 cycles300-1,000 cycles
Cell voltage1.5 to 2.3 V 1.25 – 1.5 V
Energy density (Wh./L)5 (current state)
50-60 (target for this project)
100 to 200
Power density (W/L)Up to 10,00035 to 300
Cost per Wh.$20 (current state)
$0.30 (target for this project)
$0.50-$1.00 (large system)
Service life10-15 years1 to 2 years
DisposalNo special requirement, environmentally friendlyLand fill, harmful to environment

Table 1: Overall comparison of existing supercapacitor with Lithium-ion battery