Titanium, while lightweight, strong, and corrosion resistant, has limited application due to its low thermal conductivity, XG Sciences stated. Graphene-based materials have excellent thermal conductivity and could be a useful reinforcement material, improving both the thermal and mechanical properties of titanium. XG Sciences can mass-produce graphene nanoplatelets in high volume, and ORNL is experienced in low-temperature powder metal processing. Together, the two organizations see the opportunity to create advanced titanium-graphene composites.

“Graphene is an exciting new material with huge potential due to its fast electron mobility, high mechanical strength, and excellent thermal conductivity,” said Dr Liya Wang, vice president of research and development at XG Sciences. “Metal-matrix composites are an area that has not been explored in depth, but offers a very large potential market opportunity. We are glad to partner with Oak Ridge National Lab and utilize their Manufacturing Demonstration Facility to advance the graphene-based material technologies and help maintain the competitive advantages of the United States in developing and manufacturing high-tech products.”

ORNL concurred. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with XG Sciences to bring new materials technology closer to reality and introduction in the marketplace,” said Dr Stephen Nunn, senior research and development staff member at ORNL. “With a long-standing history in materials development and the recently commissioned advanced processing capabilities at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, we are certain that this will be a successful collaboration.”

The programme is jointly supported by XG Sciences and the US Department of Energy.