From MITBJ to markets: Graphene innovations in Electric Heating
Materials and Industrial Technology Research Institute Beijing (MITBJ) announced publically days ago that a graphene based electric heating technology and the related products have been established by MITBJ. Due to its remarkable electrical and mechanical properties and its unique morphologies, graphene appears suitable for a wide variety of applications. However, its high tendency to undergo the re-graphitization, has been an important barrier to its manipulation and thus to the practical application. In an effort to overcome this difficulty, MITBJ has inserted carbon nanotubes (CNT) and carbon blacks (CB) in between the neighbors of graphene. A graphene/CNT/CB based 3-demensional nanostructured thin film has been currently produced in industrial quantities by MITBJ via a wet-coating approach; electrical energies have been converted effectively into far-infrared energies by using the thin, highly flexible graphene/CNT/CB hybrid film as the converter.
Figure 1 Photos of typical graphene based products made by MITBJ: graphene based electrical conductive ink and graphene based electrical conductive yarns
MITBJ has made the full use of graphene properties by virtue of their own advanced technologies in nano-level dispersion of the carbon nanomaterials. MITBJ has developed a series of water based electrical conductive inks with graphene as the functioning element and the corresponding down-stream products.
Figure 2 SEM images of the nano-level dispersed multi-walled carbon nanotubes (left) and the few-layered graphene (right).
“If graphene and CNTs have not been dispersed into the nano-level of dispersion in the water-base inks, messy unconnected networks will form as structural defects which decreases conductive paths and reduces the bulk film conductivity dramatically. With our graphene/CNT/CB combination technology, graphene returns back to graphite structure has been fully blocked, so that long-term heating performance with very high stability of the graphene-based electric heating products were obtained”, the CTO of MITBJ said.
Figure 3 SEM images (left) and the schematic structure diagram (right) of the graphene/CNT/CB based 3-demensional nanostructured thin film.
Figure 4 Photos of typical graphene based electric heating products made by MITBJ
Graphene based electrical conductive ink is of low resistance, showing high adhesion like the conventional organic solvent based inks, but more of environmental protection and low cost. It is formulated by water-based resins, the carbon nanomaterials and some other additives. MITBJ produces the graphene based electric heating films, murals, blankets and textiles, applicable to indoor/outdoor activities, insulation industry, aquaculture, hatch, mushroom cultivation and many other circumstances.
A chief researcher of the graphene project in MITBJ added that “first, we print the graphene based ink on to the surface of the treated plastic film or cellulose based paper to create the conductive films, the films are then used as the convertors to produce the graphene based electric heating products”. Basically, once powered with a certain value of electric voltages, these graphene based products reach the predetermined temperature in as short as 60 seconds and then become stabilized. The total electric/heating conversion ratio was as high as 99% and moreover, more than 68% of the heat was converted in to far-infrared energies within a wavelength range of 2 - 30μm. Unlike the traditional electric heating products, the graphene based electric heating product has no overheating spots; products in flexible and/or foldable forms can be easily obtained. The graphene-based electric heating products involve MITBJ’s own patents and know-hows.
Figure 5 A photo shows the results of the uniformity measurement of temperatures of a randomly selected the graphene based electrical heating film produced by MITBJ
The graphene based products made by MITBJ have advantages in both perfoamce and price holding a promising prospect in front of the huge electrical heating products market. MITBJ confessed that their graphene based electric heating technology is already matured. MITBJ dedicates to responding to the national energy-saving and environmental protection policy and has been building up several industrial level lines for massive production of the graphene based electrical conductive ink and the electric heating products to meet the needs of the market. In fact the products have been already used in the fields of agricultural cultivation, industrial heating, heat preservation, domestic, etc.
For the total market demand of up to 640 million square meters, MITBJ holds great confidence to gain a huge market share after the products have been lunched. Undoubtedly, it is also a great help to economically benefit those energy-relative enterprises.