SAO PAULO, Brazil, June 07, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Gerdau Graphene, the nanotechnology company pioneering advanced graphene-enhanced materials for industrial applications, announced that it has created next-generation graphene-enhanced plastics in a state-of-the-art plant funded by the Brazilian government. materials center in São Paulo. New graphene-enhanced polymer resin masterbatch formulas for polyethylene (PP) and polypropylene (PE) have been created in partnership with Brazil’s EMBRAPII unit SENAI/SP Advanced Materials, and are being tested in a range of applications industries within the Gerdau factories. New thermoplastic products created using these formulas will be stronger and provide better overall performance while costing less to manufacture and producing significantly less waste throughout the value chain. The first commercial deliveries are expected in June.
Graphene, considered the strongest material on Earth, is a densely packed sheet of carbon one to ten atoms thick that can be modified for various uses and added to industrial materials. Since its discovery in 2004, the extraordinary chemical, physical, electrical, thermal and mechanical properties of graphene have captivated the world and led its inventors to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Graphene can be mixed with plastics, imparting its incredible strength to the plastic matrix and making the combined plastic material much stronger. In addition to improving physical and mechanical properties, graphene also increases liquid and gas barrier properties; protection against weathering, oxidation and UV light; and an increase in electrical and thermal conductivity.
Gerdau Graphene develops graphene additives for virgin resins as well as post-industrial and post-consumer recycled plastics and polymers, including PP, PE, polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), PVC, etc. Each year, the United States produces approximately 8 million tons of PP and 23 million tons of PE. Reducing the amount of raw PP and PE needed to create plastic end products by 30% could save up to 9.3 million tonnes of PP and PE plastic from being consumed and ultimately discarded.
“Plastic is an essential, life-saving material now used in almost every product in every industry around the world – and its invention has radically transformed the way humans live. The biggest challenge we face is how to improve plastics by improving their material qualities, reducing costs and increasing durability throughout its life cycle. We are now addressing all of these objectives,” said Alexandre Corrêa, CEO of Gerdau Graphene. By adding specialized graphene additives to thermoplastic recipes, plastic producers can create stronger, more durable plastic products at a fraction of the cost and with far less petroleum and fewer raw materials needed. Because less plastic is needed for end products, less plastic becomes post-consumer waste. There are also downstream effects, including reductions in manufacturing waste, energy consumption, transportation, and more. And, in a circular way, plastics could in the near future be recycled into graphene and then reused.
“Gerdau Graphene and SENAI are involved in this project to take advantage of the use of graphene in Brazilian industry, increasing its level of competitiveness in the face of the opportunities arising from this global macrotrend”, Gustavo Spina Gaudencio de Almeida, technological coordinator at the ‘Instituto SENAI Innovation in Advanced Materials and Nanocomposites. “The partnership signed at the end of 2021 offers an excellent opportunity to develop new materials, in particular masterbatches for use in polymers of large industrial application, underlining the relevance of graphene in the market.”
About Gerdau Graphene
Gerdau Graphene is a nanotechnology company focused on the production, development and commercialization of graphene-enhanced chemical and mineral additives and masterbatches for application in products such as polymers, paints, coatings, rubber, etc Launched in 2021 by Gerdau, the Americas’ largest long steel producer, through its Gerdau Next program, Gerdau Graphene enables companies to harness the breakthrough properties of graphene to deliver cutting-edge products. To learn more, visit gerdaugraphene.com.
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Picture 1: Gerday PP Graphene Polymer Pellets
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Gerday PP Graphene Polymer Pellets