CUMI Sets Up Center of Excellence for Wonder Material Graphene

MoU signed with Digital University of Kerala to set up a Centre of Excellence for large-scale commercialisation of graphene

  • Ultra-light, super strong, flexible, and impermeable, Graphene’s game-changing properties give this nanomaterial a myriad of futuristic application possibilities.
  • Building on a 70-year history of expertise in material science, CUMI has emerged as a pioneer in graphene research and applications by investing in research and development, setting up an exclusive production facility, exploring potential applications and creating new products.
  • CUMI’s special 12,000 sqft facility is equipped to manufacture various grades of graphene and allied products.

Chennai, May 4, 2023: Carborundum Universal Ltd. (CUMI), a global leader in high-performance, advanced materials, has taken a significant leap in the field of new materials by exploring the immense potential of graphene. Towards this end, CUMI has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Digital University of Kerala to set up a Centre of Excellence, where further research and development on the wonder material will be taken up.

This is another pioneering effort by CUMI to realise the immense potential of graphene following the setting up of a special 12,000 sqft facility commissioned in 2020 to manufacture various grades of graphene and allied products.

Despite the promising and myriad applications of this new material, large-scale commercialisation of graphene needs investment in research to overcome the challenges of cost, identifying the right type of graphene for each application along with consistent availability, and the expertise needed to process it.

CUMI is committed to realising the potential of this game-changing nanomaterial by developing application knowledge, ensuring consistent availability, and identifying the right type of graphene for the right application.

Dr. A P James, Professor-in-charge, Maker Village, Professor, AI-Chip Design Center, Digital University Kerala, said, “We believe that the possibilities for graphene are endless and that it can have a huge impact on every industry. Graphene is ultra-light, super strong, flexible, transparent, and impermeable. It is also a superconductor, allowing electricity to flow without any energy loss. All these properties will allow new and exciting innovations to emerge. We are happy to join hands with CUMI to set up a Centre of Excellence where further research on this new-age material can be taken up.”

M. V. Sivakumaran, Senior VP and Business Head, Electro Minerals Division, Carborundum Universal Limited said, “Graphene has the potential to revolutionise multiple industries, from electronics and energy storage to medicine and transportation, due to its exceptional strength, conductivity, and flexibility. As a pioneer in the field of materials science research and applications, CUMI is investing to develop the potential of this wonder material. The Centre of Excellence at the Digital University of Kerala will help us to advance our research and development efforts in graphene, perfect specific solutions for various applications and industries, and create new products.”

CUMI’s 12,000 sq ft facility is ready for commercial production of graphene
CUMI is a pioneer in the manufacture of graphene. A special facility was commissioned in 2020 to manufacture various grades of graphene and allied products suitable for applications in composites, coating and energy areas. The 12,000 sqft facility can process 6 lakh litres/ year of varying grades of graphene powders, besides producing master batches in different kinds of elastomers, thermosetting and thermoplastic polymers.

The facility also offers proprietary formulations of graphene additives useful for applications in concrete, anti-corrosion, and anti-microbial applications. The facility has a state-of-the-art application lab well equipped with various types of particle characterisation equipment like laser particle size analysers, Coulter Multisizer and BET surface area analysers. The lab also has an FTIR spectrometer, SEM and various electro-mechanical characterisation equipment.

Applications of graphene in industry and defence
Graphene is slated to be the game-changing nanomaterial of the 21st century due to its exceptional electrical, thermal, optical, and mechanical properties which can enhance the performance of various materials while reducing the carbon footprint. An extraordinarily light material, a single sheet of graphene large enough to cover a whole football field can weigh under one gram. It is 10,000 times thinner than a human hair and can take a billion stress cycles before it breaks, making it one of the most fatigue-resistant materials. Recent research has shown that graphene-based materials can profoundly impact composites, specialty coatings, electronic and optoelectronic devices, chemical sensors, nanocomposites, and energy storage.

CUMI’s innovations in graphene 
CUMI’s scientists and experts are exploring the application of graphene in many areas including energy storage, renewable energy, automotive, manufacturing, construction, as well as defence and aerospace. With its lightweight, high strength, flexibility, and high thermal/electrical conductivity, graphene has emerged as the most ideal material for various applications in these industries.

For the aerospace and defence industry, CUMI is working on developing graphene-based composites which can be used to create lighter and stronger aerostructures and body armour products. CUMI’s research team has filed a patent for the preparation of highly conductive grades of nitrogen-doped graphene through instantaneous thermal processing. This grade of graphene finds applications in super-capacitors, batteries, and fuel cells.

With extensive R&D backing it, CUMI has emerged as a pioneer in the field of graphene research and applications, and the company is confident that graphene will revolutionise the materials industry in the years to come.

About Carborundum Universal Limited
Carborundum Universal Limited (CUMI), established as a tripartite joint venture in 1954, is a leading materials sciences engineering solutions provider. CUMI’s consolidated revenue is Rs. 3300 crores and PAT of Rs. 333 crores for the financial year 2022. CUMI, part of the 120-year-old Murugappa Group, is listed on the NSE and BSE. CUMI is a Mines to Market Company whose integrated operations include mining, power generation, fusion, manufacturing, marketing and distribution. CUMI has over 5,500 employees worldwide who collaborate, innovate and develop high-quality material solutions and world-class services in abrasives, electro minerals, ceramics, refractories and energy storage materials, serving customers in diverse industries including engineering, fabrication, auto and auto components, infrastructure, steel, glass, power generation and distribution, mining and aerospace. CUMI has a wide geographical presence spanning six continents and exports products to over 50 countries.

Subramanian Venkatachalam, Head of Marketing, CUMI
[email protected]