Orlando Startup To Showcase 'Green', Affordable Graphene Additive
Garmor plans to display samples of plastic composites using its low-cost graphene oxide at NPE2015 Startup Garage.
Lilli Manolis Sherman
As noted in a January 19 blog, the NPE2015 Startup Garage, a partnership of SPI and new-venture tracking firm Startup.Directory, will have at least twelve startup firms exhibiting innovations in polymer technology and beyond. Among them is Orlando-based Garmor Inc., which as previously reported will showcase graphene priced for high-volume plastics applications.
Garmor will display samples of its low-cost graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide in addition to products made with graphene oxide polymer and fiberglass composites. These composites can be used in a variety of applications ranging from automotive, aerospace, and military to consumer electronics, medical, and construction.
The company will also share the methods developed for the smooth dispersion of graphene into both polar and non-polar plastics. According to v.p. of engineering Sean Christiansen, the company’s partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF) has played an integral role in perfecting a method to optimize the incorporation of graphene in various polymers, composite materials and coating. Although initial work has been with epoxy-based and other thermoset composites, the company has data on its work with graphene-reinforced thermoplastics such as HDPE and PC, and is actively seeking interested companies in the thermoplastic arena to further its development. Polymers enhanced with Garmor’s graphene oxide show a dramatic increase in mechanical and electrical performance.
The big feat of this startup company is its ability to manufacture low-cost graphene oxide in large volume. This novel as well as ‘green’ manufacturing technology was developed at UCF by Richard Blair, a researcher in the College of Sciences and the Center for Advanced Turbine and Energy Research. It was then licensed to Garmor, which has further enhanced the technology. This is said to be a simple yet effective method of producing edge-functionalized graphene oxide with only water as a by-product. This proprietary achievement eliminates costly hazardous waste disposal and delivers a ‘green’ additive suitable for large-scale production at commodity type prices.
According to Christiansen, Garmor has focused on testing and evaluating the use of graphene in downstream products to facilitate product acceptance. Essentially, it has been devising ‘simple’ recipes that potential customers can use to produce advanced graphene-based materials. The company continues to work with UCG to advance the technology for specific applications including the incorporation of graphene into polymeric materials as well as the development of coatings for anti-corrosion applications.