American Graphite Technologies, Inc. realized higher share prices last week following its announcement of receiving the abstract for its P-600 Project. The project will explore the possibilities of using the carbon-based graphene as a material in 3D printing technology.
The abstract was received from Mr. D.V. Vynogradov who is the project manager for the Ukraine-based Institute of Physics and Technology. The project represents a joint effort by the two entities in developing this printing technology for use with graphene.
Graphene holds much promise for the future of 3D printing because of its strength, flexibility, and conductive properties thus making it a possibility for use in a large array of products and applications.
The material is derived from graphite which has many uses such as pencil lead. Graphene has the characteristic of being a single layer with a thickness of one atom.
Like diamond, graphite is referred to as a carbon allotrope and its derivative graphene possesses a hardness property exceeding diamond. It is currently the hardest material known and has conductive properties that exceed those of silicon. Yet with its hardness, it can still be used in flexible applications.
Although a layer of graphene is extremely thin, it has strength that American Graphite Technologies claims to be 200 times stronger than steel. It possesses other attractive properties as well to include flexibility and transparency.
Scientists see graphene as holding tremendous potential for use in 3D printers. Currently, applications for these printers are for mostly rapid prototyping and use layering techniques with plastic-like powder or liquid polymer.
The current technology allows the 3D printing of items that are non-conductive in nature and lacks the durability needed for components that are subjected to extreme stress. For example, some are experimenting with creating parts for weapons however these components are short-lived because of the stresses during firing.
Scientists hope that their research will provide answers to making graphene a material that can be used both commercially and domestically. They also envision being able to print electronic components, computers, and other devices that need to be lightweight, strong, flexible, and have conductivity.