Science & Technology

Engineering with Graphene

Professor Robert J. Young, FREng, FRS
16th October 2017, 7:00pm

Graphene was first isolated in Manchester by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov in 2004 and this led to their award of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. Graphene is a one-atom thick form of carbon, obtained from the cleavage of graphite crystals that has been found to have impressive and exciting properties. It has the highest electron mobility of any material, the highest thermal conductivity and its stiffness and strength are the highest measured for any material. Although there has been tremendous interest in this wonder material from the world-wide academic community, the challenge remains in finding industrial applications of graphene that will benefit the UK economy.

The lecture will concentrate upon how the mechanical properties of graphene can be realised in practical applications. It will be shown that it can be used in combination with polymers to make nanocomposites that have excellent properties. Examples will be given of its use in sports goods such as tennis racquets and racing cycle tyres that are already on the market. It is also being evaluated for use in aerospace applications but, because of the extensive certification that is needed, it will be a number of years before it will be deployed in aircraft. Most recently graphene has been considered for use in motorsport. In collaboration with McLaren and the luxury watch manufacturer, Richard Mille, one of their sponsors, it will be shown how graphene has been used to produce nanocomposites with enhanced performance and superior properties. This has enabled the production of the RM 50-03, a nanocomposite wrist watch that is the world’s lightest Tourbillon split-second chronograph.

Future plans by the University of Manchester to develop even more applications for graphene in the newly-built Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), due to be opened in 2018, will also be discussed.

About the Speaker

Robert Young was born in Stoke-on-Trent and studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, gaining his PhD in 1973. After working at Queen Mary College in London he became Professor of Polymer Science and Technology in UMIST in Manchester in 1986. From 1992 to 1997 he was the Royal Society Wolfson Research Professor of Materials Science. Between 2004 and 2009 he was Head of the School of Materials in the newly-formed University of Manchester. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2006, the Royal Society in 2013 and to Academia Europaea, the Academy of Europe in 2015.

His main research interest is the relationships between structure and properties in polymers and composites publishing a number of books and over 350 papers, many of which are highly cited. He has delivered courses in Polymer Science and Technology at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and lectured extensively at international conferences. His research interests have extended recently into the field nanotechnology, working in particular upon nanocomposites containing graphene and concentrating upon the commercial applications of these nanocomposites.


Menu for Supper

Chicken with Diane sauce with new potatoes and vegetables
Goats cheese and red onion quiche (v)
Lemon tart
Fresh fruit salad

N.B. the Lit & Phil office have to inform venues of catering numbers approximately 7 days before an event so please make sure you book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.