Haydale Graphene Industries (South Wales, UK), through its newly acquired subsidiary EPL Composite Solutions Limited (Loughborough, UK), will work with Alex Thomson Racing (ATR, Gosport, UK) to incorporate graphene enhanced materials in their Research and Development program to improve overall strength and stiffness for a number of key structures within the ATR boat. Thus, ATR seeks to keep their vessel light to ensure optimum speed without compromising on strength.
The initial work will include an immediate review to ascertain weight saving opportunities. In particular, the partners want to make use of Haydale’s recent work in adding their functionalized HDPlas Graphene Nano Platelets (GNPs) into carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) structures and epoxy resins. Recent work carried out with Cardiff University (Cardiff, UK) showed a 40% improvement in CFRP plane shear strength while the US-based research institute The Aerospace Corporation (El Segundo, CA) endorsed the use of Haydale's GNPs in achieving more than a 100% increase in structural strength and stiffness for epoxy resin systems.
Outside of the obvious opportunity to improve overall strength and stiffness the teams plan a review of bearings and friction points plus critical areas such as delamination of materials and thermal heat management.
Haydale CEO Ray Gibbs commented, "Fundamentally this agreement demonstrates the belief that Haydale materials advice and technology can make a difference in the high tech world of competitive offshore racing. We will also call on the skills and resources of our collaboration partner the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating — this is an exciting mix of entrepreneurial flair and technical knowhow which we feel can really make a difference.''
Under the terms of this agreement Haydale will seek project funding for longer term assignments such as the inclusion of Haydale graphenes into barrier films and coatings and to investigate how these coatings could improve ATR boat performance.
Stewart Hosford, ATR Managing Director added, ''It is exciting to be using such industry leading technology in our Research and Development program. It is similar to Formula One in that you need to keep the vessel light to ensure optimum speed without a compromise on strength, providing the results for the title sponsor while racing. I am looking forward to seeing the results and using this technology in future design concepts.''