Graphene since its discovery in 2004 has been an investigated by engineers across the globe. Brazil is attempting to commercialize the material by opening a Graphene and Nanomaterials Research Center which will be called MackGraphe. Graphene is the thinnest compound that weighs in at one atom thick and is the lightest known, strongest compound ever discovered. So the desire to capitalize on the material and build into our everyday lives is of heightened interest to engineers and scientists all around the world. The honeycomb-like texture the material takes on, is also of importance to some engineering designers. Thus, the Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo wants to open the facility that will concern itself with graphene and see how it can be introduced into the world.
MackGraphe will actively work with nanomaterials, a team of 20 engineers will be lending their minds to the project. According to Chemistry World, the material will have eventual benefits for “electronics, biological engineering, filtration, energy storage” and the development of strong and non-heavy materials.
Brazil is late to the party, however, due to the University of Manchester in the UK, who have already invested money into the National Graphene Institute (NGI) that has been open for over a year. An inquiry was opened against the institute criticizing it for the speed at which revelations in the graphene industry are being made. It is alleged that the institute will not be able to take graphene from lab to the market anytime soon, which has alarmed government investors who have pumped £38 million into the research.
The University of Manchester replied to the claims that they were spending all their time on research and not so much on development. BGT Materials, a company involved with graphene development also said it was working on something but wouldn’t divulge what. Their research and development manager, Liam Britnell, said: “We have definitely tried to keep under wraps what we’re doing. There’s no advantage to shout from the rooftops.” The company was rumored to be working on a lightbulb that utilizes graphene to transfer heat from a light-emitting diode (LED) which would improve its efficiency, according to Nature.
There have also been 25,000 patent applications in graphene development between 2005 to 2014, according to the UK Intellectual Property Office, showing that graphene could soon be making its way into the newest product consumers will be getting their hands on.