GRAPHENE DREAM Full Min­eral Jacket


Fast Company - - From The Publisher - BY JE­SUS DIAZ

Lon­don-based ad­ven­ture-wear maker Volle­bak is known for tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tion. Its lat­est ac­com­plish­ment: cre­at­ing a jacket out of the so-called “mir­a­cle ma­te­rial” graphene. This thin, strong, and ver­sa­tile form of graphite can con­duct heat and elec­tric­ity— prop­er­ties that could rev­o­lu­tion­ize ev­ery­thing from aero­space to medicine. “Graphene re­mains ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to work with, in­cred­i­bly ex­pen­sive to pro­duce, and very hard to make in large quan­ti­ties,” Volle­bak co­founder Steve Tid­ball says. “Even two years ago this jacket would have been im­pos­si­ble to make.” Volle­bak worked with a team of out­side sci­en­tists to turn raw graphite into stacks of graphene that were blended with polyurethane to cre­ate a mem­brane. That was then bonded to ny­lon to form the jacket’s two-sided ma­te­rial. The com­pany laser­cut the re­versible pan­els and glued them to­gether to use as much of the costly fab­ric as pos­si­ble. Mag­i­cal Prop­er­ties Thanks to its hexag­o­nal molec­u­lar struc­ture, graphene can con­duct heat in un­usual ways. Volle­bak says the jacket will pull heat from your body to equal­ize your tem­per­a­ture and work like a ra­di­a­tor, stor­ing warmth from other sources. The ma­te­rial halts bac­te­ria buildup and dis­perses hu­mid­ity. A Wear­able Charg­ing Sta­tion The jacket, which Volle­bak con­sid­ers a pro­to­type, plays down graphene’s nat­u­ral abil­ity to con­duct elec­tric­ity, but Volle­bak hopes tin­ker­ers will find ways to re­work it to, for ex­am­ple, charge a phone sim­ply by plac­ing it in the pocket. The com­pany wants to some­day re­lease a souped-up ver­sion of the jacket.

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