Junior graphite player Talga Resources says it can make ordinary concrete conduct electricity.
Managing director Mark Thompson told investors this morning that tests show Talga’s graphene-enhanced concrete “achieves such high electrical conductivity that it can act like the heating element of an electric stove”.
Graphene is a sheet of a single layer of carbon atoms, tightly bound in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice.
This means Talga could essentially add a “heating element” to concrete, which is a global market worth roughly $US450 million annually at the moment.
Concrete is the world’s largest construction material by volume, according to Talga.
Concrete is effectively an insulator, meaning it does not conduct electricity in a dry state, and scientists have been trying to find ways to change that.
This new technology could be used for underfloor heating and replace plumbed hot water-based installations.
Here’s the high-tech concrete melting ice:
Talga concrete sample after melting 5cm depth of ice from 9v power.
It could also be used for anti-static flooring, electromagnetic interference shielding to protect electrical devices, strain sensors and grounding/lightning protection, as well as heating roads to clear ice and snow, eliminating the need for ploughs, corrosive salt, and de-icing chemicals.
One of the most intriguing applications is its potential wirelessly charged electric vehicles while they drive:
“In future, Talga will investigate the potential of the electrically conductive concrete for a cost-effective role in enabling inductive (wireless) charging technologies for electric vehicles under dynamic (driving) as well as stationary (parking) conditions through the increased range of heating, sensing and other conductive concrete,” Talga says.
Talga plans to take the prototype to potential development partners.
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