• Browse Sector
  • Browse Date


June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

February 2022

January 2022

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

December 2020

November 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

June 2019

April 2019

December 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

February 2018

December 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

January 2017

To be a world-leading graphene supplier you need to have a seat at the world’s leading graphene institute

Categories: Lightweighting

Related sectors

Advanced Materials

Manchester is the home of graphene, having first been isolated at The University of Manchester in 2004. This wonder material is just one atom thick, which gives it a whole host of superlative properties; extremely strong, flexible, transparent and incredibly conductive. As a result, graphene has many varied applications with the potential to improve the world around us. The aerospace industry is just one such example - by incorporating graphene into existing materials used to build aircraft, safety and performance can be improved while significantly reducing the environmental impact at the same time.

Over previous decades, the development of aluminium enabled people to travel in safety across the globe. Lightweight and abundant, it laid the foundation for the type of aircraft that fill our skies today.

Aircraft designers and manufacturers constantly need to innovate, to become even safer and more fuel efficient, with companies such as Boeing and Airbus embracing the advent of carbon fibre. Today’s carbon fibre aircraft are lighter and greener – using up to 30 per cent less fuel.

Now graphene – known as the world’s first 2D material – has the proven potential to be the next revolutionary step in the development and commercialisation of lighter, safer and more efficient aircraft.

Incorporating graphene in the composite materials used for wings and fuselages adds strength and reduces weight, so decreasing fuel-burn. Similarly, heavy copper wiring and heating coils, which are a requirement for de-icing aircraft, can be replaced with graphene – a much lighter material that is also 200 times stronger than steel and conductive.

The University of Manchester’s latest advanced materials development facility is the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) – a place for industries to innovate and commercialise applications of graphene and other 2D materials.

The University of Manchester, along with the University of Central Lancashire and Haydale, has also developed a series of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to demonstrate the real-world impact of incorporating graphene into carbon-fibre construction. The aircraft, named ‘Juno’, was unveiled in 2018 at Farnborough International Airshow, utilising graphene to reduce weight and increase range. 

Graphene’s potential is huge. It is super-lightweight, immensely strong and more conductive than copper. In a similar way to aluminium and carbon fibre before it, graphene looks set to drive the next phase of aviation innovation.

Follow MIDAS