Graphene embedded polymers
Jan 13, 2023 at 10:16 am #3770060
I originally tried to post this with a different subject line of, “Are graphene infused UHMWPE fibers the future of light/strong and cooling fabrics” but it wouldn’t post for some reason. Trying again with a different subject line in case that had something to do with it.
Graphene is starting to be added to polymers like nylon and UHMWPE. One such brand is Kyorene. For example, you can get safety gloves made out of UHMWPE infused/embedded with graphene under the above brand name. The company claims that it ups the tensile, Young’s modulus, etc strengths (research on this seems a bit more mixed). Besides that, UHMWPE oriented fibers already have an extremely and unusually high thermal conductivity for a polymer material that is more akin to metals than it is regular polymers (whether nylon, polyester, cellulose, etc).
Meanwhile, graphene is one of the most thermally conductive materials known to humanity period. Makes copper and silver look thermally blocking in comparison.
Hence, the combo is likely to have a rather high overall thermal conductivity. The other upside to infusing UHMWPE with graphene is odor reduction. The former being a form of PE with very, very low moisture regain and low surface energy, much like polypropylene and to a lesser extent-polyester, it would tend to attract and facilitate the growth of odor causing microbes the most.
But the graphene would change this and make it more anti microbial (especially if any is close to the surface of the fiber). At least, this is what the company that makes Kyorene claims and I have no reason to doubt them since electrical charge is involved with the whole odor-microbe issue at a core level.Jan 13, 2023 at 10:33 am #3770062
This link/write up explains in more detail some of the above:
I have no connection to the company that makes Kyorene. I just recently learned about it because I bought some Redhead brand socks at Bass Pro Shop recently and it listed 9% Kyorene fiber as part of the content and having never heard of it previously, looked it up. Then I also noticed that this company was making safety gloves out of UHMWPE with Kyorene.
Interestingly the company doesn’t mention the ultra high thermal conductivity of graphene for some reason. But I really do think the combo of UHMWPE and graphene would make the ultimate combo of warm to hot weather fabric, if it also can be made to wick well. (Exception being hot weather significantly above core body temp, talking like 110*F and higher, in that case, some insulation can become helpful providing ones sweat is evaporating efficiently).Jan 13, 2023 at 11:39 am #3770069
“Interestingly the company doesn’t mention the ultra high thermal conductivity of graphene for some reason. ”
They do very briefly in the intro, but not in their numbered list of benefits.Jan 16, 2023 at 12:43 pm #3770457Bill BudneyBPL Member
@billbLocale: Central NYS
What happens if a sliver of this stuff gets into your skin?
Unless it breaks down somehow, it seems as though it could travel throughout your body, almost without restriction?Jan 17, 2023 at 7:44 pm #3770588
If the graphene was a coating i.e. bonded to the surface of the fibers, then I would share your concern (or the potential for some). However, this is not the case with the above company and their method at least. They add the graphene to the plastics when they are in their liquid state before it is extruded or spun/drawn. Hence the graphene becomes part of the molecular structure of the material itself.
The question would be, after breaking down in a dump or the like, what would happen? Or, what about recycling? (Not that the US actually recycles much plastic to begin with, especially now that China is not taking our trash). Those questions I can’t answer. But definitely worth looking into (rather, should be looked into).
The structure is indeed sharp/cutting in nature, but the material itself being carbon is not toxic otherwise.Jan 18, 2023 at 6:29 am #3770614SIMULACRABPL Member
@simulacraLocale: Puget Sound
Most plastics are not recyclable against the grain of most common beliefs. The commonly identified “recycle arrows” symbol is not an indication of its ability either. The plastics identification number is however. Meaning, most plastics still go straight to the dump whether you put it in the recycling or not.
That being said, these gloves are a good find for the commercial industry. Maybe this tech could be utilized elsewhere as well.Jan 18, 2023 at 10:45 am #3770631DanBPL Member
For which applications do you think high thermal conductivity will be desirable? I would have to do some heat transfer calculations, but I’m not sure that conduction will contribute substantially to cooling when in contact with air. Clearly evaporative cooling is our major evolutionary adaptation.Jan 18, 2023 at 5:49 pm #3770677
“Most plastics are not recyclable against the grain of most common beliefs…’
Yeah, I’ve heard similar.
Besides the gloves, it is also making it way into things like wool socks and more specifically in the nylon that is used in reinforcement areas of the sock. Unfortunately the company doesn’t say how much it up’s the various strengths and durability of the nylon fibers–would be nice to know.Jan 18, 2023 at 6:19 pm #3770680
Hi Dan. I live and primarily hike in the mid Atlantic region of the southeast. Just south enough to have long, and fairly hot and often very humid spring through to fall season. And I run warmer than the average on top of that. The problem is, the higher the humidity, the less that sweat cools because the evaporation process slows down and decreases. I’m always looking for clothes/tech that will increase comfort in such conditions, even if only by a small percent.
I have some all, and high content, UHMWPE clothing (including now some pants). I don’t know how much it will actually help to regulate core body temp but this much I do know, it at least feels nice and cooling on the skin. It may be somewhat akin to the issue of fishnet baselayers used in/for cold and/or wet conditions. The fishnet doesn’t appreciably and ultimately regulate the body temp more efficiently than regular baselayers (both being used in an overall thermal insulating system), but it certainly does feel more comfortable on the skin meanwhile. I think that skin perceived comfort has some merit in and of itself.
Anyways, that is UHMWPE without graphene added. Graphene would only increase the thermal conductivity of the UHMWPE.
I also know from looking at the research of actively cooling clothing that thermal conductivity is an area that has been looked into and worked on relation to this issue some. (The following not being an example of that though.) Probably the tech which I have personally tried and worked the best so far, is the fabric that is made of a combo of hollow fibers (along with regular wicking fibers) that also have holes in them to absorb moisture into the inside of the fiber to regulate and prolong the evaporation process,. But again, it is somewhat humidity dependent as to how well it works.
If a graphene infused UHMWPE version of this could be made (I’m not sure that hollow UHMWPE fibers can be made though? It is not extruded like other synthetic polymers), it might increase comfort in hotter, higher humidity conditions at least very slightly.
Personally, I’ll take even just very slightly. Its kind of one of those situations of, “nothing to lose”. I envy folks that live in drier/less humid climates, and I pity those that live in even more humid and hot climes than here (my definition of a living he!!).Jan 19, 2023 at 11:02 am #3770823Ben H.BPL Member
@bzhayesLocale: No. Alabama
Based on how the graphene is imbedded in the UHMWPE (as a heterogeneous mixture) I don’t think I understand how thermal conductivity would be significantly affected unless they are able to keep long strips intact during the manufacturing process.Jan 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm #3770853
I’m not sure. Perhaps you could contact the company and ask them? I doubt it would significantly increase the thermal conductivity, in an extreme sense, but UHMWPE fibers/fabrics are already unusually/highly conductive for a polymer to begin with.
Here is an article that talks about this some (not about graphene being infused/embedded in it):
Note that UHMWPE fabric is said to be comparable to steel in its thermal conductivity, and 20 to 30 times more thermally conductive than regular fabrics that we use/wear. I don’t know how much adding graphene would up that, but it would likely up it at least some.
And I would repeat what I said earlier in regards to this as well, “Personally, I’ll take even just very slightly. Its kind of one of those situations of, ‘nothing to lose’. I envy folks that live in drier/less humid climates, and I pity those that live in even more humid and hot climes than here (my definition of a living he!!).”
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