Ultra Lightweighting, pound-for-pound the most efficient lightweighting measure in the world.
Ultra Lightweighting – the performance enhancement of lightweighting materials – is made possible by our patented product, Toroidal graphene, which is a high-performance modifier of material properties with the scientific name MNTFs. The performance enhancement is generated by an ultra low concentration of 0.001-0.01w%. Depending on customer needs, this either allows reductions in material thickness requirements of structural elements without compromising mechanical properties or it generates a stronger, stiffer material with more abrasive wear resistance and increased electrical conductivity.
With a systems-level approach, which involves considering the potential for ultra lightweighting from the beginning of the design process, it is possible to optimize the design of a 300-seat, 140-ton carbon fiber jet with a list price of $325m.
One kilogram of our product ultra-lightweights the carbon fiber parts of a 140-ton carbon fiber jet and addresses the following five primary areas of aerospace lightweighting:
• Weight savings – Our product allows for weight savings of 40% of the carbon fiber composite parts or a total of 28 tons, which equals cost savings of $8.7m.
• Fuel consumption – Our product allows for a reduction in fuel consumption by 20% or 10+ tons of fuel for a single Atlantic crossing, which equals cost savings of $10m over the life of the aircraft.
• CO2 emissions – Our product allows for a reduction in CO2 emissions by 20% or 30+ tons for a single Atlantic crossing.
• Range – Our product improves range flexibility by 20% or 2,800 km, thereby increasing the number of possible non-stop destinations around the world.
• Aircraft lightning protection – Carbon fiber composites cannot mitigate the potentially damaging electromagnetic effects from a lightning strike. The most frequently selected solution to this problem is to introduce metals back into the aircraft. The metal mesh and expanded foil added to the composite structure layup for this purpose are negating any lightweighting measures and don’t contribute to structural strength. Carbon fiber composites enhanced with our product serves as an electrical shield around the structure that protects against lightning strikes and at the same time contributes to structural strength.
Any carbon fiber manufacturer with T800-level carbon fiber could with the help of our product surpass the current world leader in carbon fiber composites, Toray of Japan, by more than 30% or nearly 1,000 MPa, which will be the biggest leap in the evolution of carbon fiber composites in over 30 years.
Competing technologies in the modifier industry are mainly based on Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) or 2D graphene, which both are amazing materials with incredible properties - in their original pristine form.
CNTs have been used as an additive in tens of thousands of attempts to modify materials and recent exits from this market include Bayer AG which described the potential applications of CNTs as ‘fragmented with comprehensive commercialization not likely in the foreseeable future’.
Various forms of functionalized graphene
Graphene was awarded the Nobel prize in 2010. However, commercialization of graphene into industrial applications with high-entry barriers has been slow. Several production and incorporation issues need to be addressed before more advanced sectors opt for graphene. Continuous R&D activities around the globe are attempting to solve the challenges associated with synthesizing graphene composites by exploring various forms of functionalized graphene such as graphene flakes (GNF), graphene oxide (GO), reduced graphene oxide (rGO), and graphene nanoplatelets (GNP).
Torus vs Tube: Semi-scientific demonstration of the lifebouy-shape of Toroidal graphene that provide a micro-mechanical flotation device-style interlocking adding to the degree of efficiency as a modifier of composite properties as opposed to the detrimental sliding of the atomically smooth walls of the CNTs against the macromolecules of the surrounding polymer matrix, which eventually will cause stress concentration and crack initiation.
The Toroidal graphene radar chart total of 580 outscores the heavily hyped nanomaterials CNTs (250) and 2D graphene (185).
1. The unique physical properties and topology of Toroidal graphene eliminates the need for surface modification (functionalization) for composite matrix integration.
2. Toroidal graphene is less susceptible than CNTs to fracture or deformation by the shear stresses imparted upon them in the dispersion and deagglomeration process. Also, because of the lifebuoy-shape, Toroidal graphene agglomeration when suspended in liquids is more manageable being free from the problematic ‘snake-pit’ entanglement of CNTs.
3. Scalable 2D graphene production is a challenge.
4. Toroidal graphene has successfully achieved TRL 9 (technology system proven in operational environment) as a nanomaterial and TRL 7 (component demonstration in operational environment) as a modifier of mechanical properties of several composite materials.
5. Toroidal graphene is patented.
6. Hype constitutes the bulk of the 2D graphene radar chart score.
7. The loading concentration efficiency of Toroidal graphene is ‘off the charts’ (0.001 – 0.01 w%), making it pound-for-pound the most efficient lightweighting measure in the world.
Toroidal graphene is a unique patented nanomaterial consisting of 20-50 toroidal layers of carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal lattice structures with a diameter of 15-150 nm. The toroidal graphene layers in our nanomaterial are infinite by nature because of the circular geometry and devoid of rough, imperfect outer layer edges.
The modifier capability of Toroidal graphene is originating from the presence of an uninterrupted conjugated system of delocalized π-electrons.
Synergistic interactions of fluctuating polarizations of sp2-hybridized π-orbitals in the contributing structures of the toroidal layers create conditions for giant resonances in the electromagnetic field of the system with an amplification factor of up to several orders of magnitude (3×10^4). The torque created by the giant resonances modifies and redirects van der Waals interactions, and in the case of carbon fiber composites, it triggers a control phenomenon at the interface between the carbon fibers and the matrix.
Polymerization and crystal formation processes are affected by the van der Waals-forces which are organizing or rather modifying the direction or orientation of the surrounding macromolecules into a 10 microns thick interfacial layer of perpendicularly oriented polymer chains.
The interfacial layer improves the level of elastic deformation, binds free energy, contributes to overall system stability and enables stress transfer and dissipation for increased resistance to external loading.
Our product has the highest loading concentration efficiency in the additive industry (0.001 – 0.01 w%), and is not application- or system-intrusive, meaning it can seamlessly integrate into any existing manufacturing process with minimal negative impact on matrix viscosity and curing schedules.
The achievement of performance enhancement of graphene composites is
dependent on the efficiency of the load transfer from the matrix to the filler,
which is, in turn, governed by (i) the dispersion of graphene into the matrix, (ii) the interfacial bonding, (iii) the presence of structural defects in graphene, (iv) the number of carbon layers in graphene, (v) the presence of defects in the final product (e.g. porosity and cavities), (vi) the orientation of graphene in relation to the loading direction, and (vii) the formation of carbide at the graphene outer layer edges.
i. The difficulties of integrating pristine graphene into a matrix due to poor dispersion and irreversible aggregation have led to numerous solutions for increased compatibility, e.g., oxidation and functionalization, which ultimately disrupts the structure causing loss of intrinsic properties of graphene.
The exceptional electromagnetic properties and the unique topology of Toroidal graphene essentially eliminate the need for surface modification for matrix integration and enable use of ultra-low concentrations. The lower volume fraction enables uniform matrix dispersion with large contact areas and interfaces between graphene and matrix, which yields an individual particle space of approx. 1-2 µm3 for influencing internal material structure at meso level. With a concentration of 0.005 wt% in the composite matrix, the particles will be at just the right distance from each other to influence without reagglomerating.
ii. Obtaining an effective interfacial bonding is difficult due to the poor affinity of graphene to several lightweight materials that do not wet graphene and therefore covalent bonding is not possible and no reactions take place between the matrix and graphene, which leaves van der Waals interactions and mechanical adhesion as mechanisms for interfacial bonding.
Toroidal graphene addresses weak van der Waals interactions as well as weak mechanical adhesion. The exceptional electromagnetic properties of Toroidal graphene, which originates in the closed conjugated system of delocalized pi electrons, where synergistic interactions of fluctuating polarizations of sp2-hybridized π-orbitals in the contributing structures of the individual toroidal 2D-graphene layers create conditions for giant resonances in the electromagnetic field of the system with an amplification factor of up to several orders of magnitude (3×104). The torque created by the giant resonances triggers a control phenomenon at the interface between the Toroidal graphene and the matrix where modified van der Waals-forces are affecting internal material structuring with the formation of a denser, more compacted interfacial layer, which improves interfacial properties and resistance to interfacial shift in the matrix. The interfacial layer binds free energy, contributes to overall system stability, and improves stress transfer and dissipation for increased resistance to external loading. The structure of Toroidal graphene with micro-mechanical flotation device-style interlocking with the matrix plays an important role in enhancing the mechanical adhesion, which in turn leads to better load transfer.
iii. Graphene can easily become damaged for example during the fabrication conditions used for metallic materials including high temperatures and pressures, and thus potentially weaken the intrinsic properties of graphene.
Toroidal graphene exhibits exceptional structural and thermal stability with resistance to graphitization at 3000°C as well as barometric resistance up to at least 50 kbar.
iv. The composites are filled with unwanted multi-layer graphene. Experimental measurements show that the mechanical properties of graphene depend strongly on the number of layers. In particular, the properties of graphene decline with increasing number of layers, devolving from those of graphene to those of graphite, and thus, the load-carrying capability gradually decreases. This has been attributed to the easy shear between the graphene layers.
The closed conjugated system of Toroidal graphene makes shear between graphene layers virtually impossible, which is a feature that contributes positively to the strength of composite materials.
v. Composites may contain structural defects such as pores and cavities, which cause ineffective distribution of reinforcement within the matrix alloy, and thus, reinforcement does not dominate the matrix properties. Since pores and cavities create stress concentration, they overrule the reinforcement performance by developing a non-uniform stress field, which produces less effective reinforcing conditions.
The internal material structuring generated by Toroidal graphene addresses resistance to internal processing defects like porosity.
vi. Graphene is not preferentially oriented along the loading direction in the composites. This means that a randomly oriented distribution disturbs the unidirectional load transfer mechanism, reducing the strength efficiency of graphene since the mechanical properties of graphene-based composites are controlled not only by its exceptional in-plane properties, but also by its out-of -plane properties.
The circular geometry of Toroidal graphene makes it more likely that the out of-plane properties will match the in-plane properties.
vii. The defect-dense outer layer edges of graphene, where the hexagonal lattice structure is interrupted, can in the case of graphene-aluminum composites act as reaction sites to promote carbide formation, which can have damaging influence on properties on these composites.
Toroidal graphene is, as a consequence of the circular geometry, devoid of rough, outer layer edges.
The modifier capability of Toroidal graphene has been documented by us in several industrial case studies, where components made of composite materials modified by Toroidal graphene at 0.005-0.01wt% was demonstrated under real operational conditions (TRL-level 7):
•A tool holder for turning was made of modified carbon fiber composite. In demonstrations it allowed turning at 200,000 rpm with a maximum tool deflection of 2 mm, which is an improvement by a factor of 20 compared to steel. SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden conducted independent testing of the compression modulus of the tool holder, which verified a performance enhancement of over 40% compared to Japanese world-leading carbon fiber manufacturer Toray.
• A grinding support made of modified bronze was tested by Thyssen in Germany. The test showed an improvement in abrasive wear resistance of 500% compared to Thyssen’s grinding supports. Improvements in hardness and electrical conductivity were measured to 40% and 375%.
• A pervaporation membrane for separating azeotropic mixtures made of modified thermoplastic (PPO) didn’t influence the pervaporation properties but showed an improvement in biaxial tensile strength of 85%.
• Chemical resistance to nuclear waste in borosilicate glass has been measured to 400% improvement.
• Laboratory environment feasibility studies have shown improvements in tensile strength of epoxy by 39%; in flexural modulus of T700 carbon fiber fabric by 45%, which is equivalent to T1300-level; and in flexural modulus of engineering plastics by 54%.
Our product is produced from recycled residue products of Carbon nanotube production, has the lowest loading concentration in the additive industry, and allows ultra lightweighting through reduction of material thickness requirements, which in turn enables reduction of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.
The production process reduces the use of raw materials, which means the Earth’s limited resources are used in a sustainable manner while minimizing environmental impact. The product thus has the potential to contribute to an environmentally sustainable society according to at least the following global sustainability goals in the UN Development Program UNDP by 2030: i) to achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources; ii) to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse; and iii) to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.