A July 12 agreement between Seoul, South Korea-based conglomerate Hanwha Group and XG Sciences Inc. (East Lansing, Mich.) will lead to $1 million in funding for further research on the latter’s trademarked xGnP Graphene Nanoplatelets.
A spinoff from Michigan State University (MSU), XG Sciences was formed in 2006. Initial funding for graphene nanoplatelet research was provided by MSU and a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s 21st Century Jobs Fund. XG developed a fast, inexpensive process for separating layers of graphite (graphene) into stacks less than 10-nm thick but with plate diameters of 100 nm to several microns. XG also can tailor the particle surface chemistry to make it compatible with water, resin or plastic systems. Low concentrations of xGnP nanoplatelets in polymers result in multifunctional nanocomposites that, the company claims, possess an array of enhanced strength properties and significantly increased electrical and thermal conductivity.
Commenting on the agreement, Larry Drzal, a distinguished professor of chemical engineering and materials science at MSU and one of the founders of XG Sciences, noted, “This collaboration represents a major milestone in our development and an important recognition of the significance of our technology by a worldwide leader in advanced materials.”
Hanwha, the ninth largest conglomerate in Korea, with sales of more than $25 billion, produces plastics and other chemical products. The company made a major commitment to growth in the U.S. with its 2007 acquisition of AZDEL Inc. (Forest, Va.), a manufacturer of thermoplastic composites for interior and transportation applications. Hanwha reportedly will establish a research facility near Detroit, Mich.