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First environmentally friendly graphene smart case unveiled

10 October 2019

A prototype for a graphene-based smart suitcase made of 100% of recycled plastic has been developed in collaboration with The University of Manchester.

First environmentally friendly graphene smart case (Image courtesy of University of Manchester)

400 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year in the world with 40% of that single use and only 9% get recycled worldwide.

Furthermore, it is predicted by 2050 that the amount of plastic in the ocean will be greater than the amount of fish.

One of the barriers for using recycled plastic includes degradation and thermal aging of the plastic as well as mixing low-grade materials into the batch, which results in poor performance properties and lower reusability.

However, a Manchester-based start-up company, GraphCase has developed a patent pending technology to create a composite polymer using graphene, which is made from 100% recycled plastics. The world first graphene suitcase is 60% stronger, 20% lighter and has a lifetime warranty. The material used can also be recycled multiple times whilst maintaining its performance.

The use of one 20” GraphCase cabin luggage could potentially reduce 6kg CO2 emissions into the environment.

The graphene-enhanced recycled polycarbonate system imparts smooth-touch, scratch resistant and better impact properties. The case also includes an ejectable battery pack so mobile devices can be charged (on the go) a TSA approved lock as well as being water resistant.

Going forward, GraphCase is working with the ERDF Bridging the Gap Programme to take this concept forward. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) the project has been developed to proactively engage Greater Manchester (GM) based SMEs and new ventures to allow them to overcome challenges, and explore and apply graphene and other advanced 2D materials in a wide range of applications and markets.

Dr Shaila Afroj, Co-founder of GraphCase and former University of Manchester student said: "Over the last several months we have worked extremely hard with Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) at The University of Manchester and various partners to develop World first Graphene-enhanced travel case based on 100% recycle plastics.

“We are hoping to bring our smart, strong and environmentally sustainable travel case to the market in the new year. By providing high quality, extremely durable and 100% recycled plastics-based suitcase, we would like to provide greatest experiences to the travellers."

Dr Nazmul Karim, the other co-founder of GraphCase said " Plastic pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges at the moment. We all have to do our bit to save the environment."

By adding graphene to recycled plastics, it was possible to develop 60% stronger and 20% lighter travel case with 50% less CO2 emission. We are not stopping there, as the plan is to bring a range of graphene-enhanced environmentally sustainable recycled materials-based products to the market."

Graphene-based materials have shown huge potential for composites due to their excellent mechanical properties. Graphene provides transparency, high mechanical strength and good thermal and dimensional stability in order to successful incorporate it into polymers.

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