The Industrialization Of Graphene In China - The Sixth Element Group Opens A New Plant

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In May 2020, The Sixth Element Materials Technology Corporation announced that the first phase of expansion in its production capacity had been completed. The newest plant situated in Nantong, China, now has the capacity to produce 500 t/a of graphene oxide and 150 t/a of graphene, raising The Sixth Element’s total capacity to 1000 t/a.

Production lines run and work well according to the manager of the new plant, with manufactured graphene already sent out to customers that have responded with good feedback. “The new production process is greener and more efficient and leads to a higher consistency of the product quality.” declared the plant manager.

General Manager of The Sixth Element Dr. Qu Yan has revealed that the company will make a total investment close to 58 million US dollars across two phases at the Nantong site. It is anticipated that by 2022 the Nantong facility’s annual production capacity will yield approximately 450 tons of graphene and 1500 tons of graphene oxide. The site is supported and endorsed by the corporate R&D to update processes and products. 

History of The Sixth Element Materials Technology Group

The Sixth Element (Changzhou) Materials Technology Co. Ltd, is a global leading manufacturer of graphene and graphene oxide. Founded on a solid base of excellent R&D, the company continuously develops modern graphene products that are well suited for the appropriate applications.

Initial production began in 2011 with the launch of a pilot scale plant predicated on proprietary production knowledge. Today, the Sixth Element has the capacity to produce 300 t/a of graphene oxide and 130 t/a of graphene. The company is ISO 9001 certified since September 2014, IATF 16949 and ISO14001 since 2018. The company possesses EU REACH registrations for both graphene and graphene oxide.

The Sixth Element (Changzhou) currently has the necessary qualifications in place for producing graphene products relevant to thermal management for anti-corrosion coatings in thermoplastics, fibers, marine-based applications, and automotive tire treads. Graphene inherently features excellent thermal conductivity, and films produced from graphene oxide have been deemed suitable to act as a platform for heat dissipation.

Since 2014, The Sixth Element (Changzhou) initiated its graphene industrialization processes as a material for heat dissipation for China’s electronic industry. Together with Jiangsu Huawei Century Electronic Group Co., The Sixth Element established a joint-stock company known as Fuxi Technology, which specializes in the development, production, and sales of graphene based thermal management materials. One of the principal products developed by Fuxi Technology is a graphene-based thermal dissipation film: an extremely oriented thermal film stacked with multiple layers of graphene.

The Sixth Element has proven that the potential to limit and significantly reduce the zinc content in zinc rich primers is possible without negatively impacting performance parameters. For the required applications SE1132 and SE1233 are competent types, as they both enhance the barrier properties of the primer and form an electrical network to support the cathodic behavior of zinc due to their superb electrical conductivity.

The Sixth Element has demonstrated, in collaboration with a partner in China, that graphene considerably reduces abrasion whilst simultaneously increasing certain mechanical properties of rubber systems. Thus, depending on the requirements of the rubber systems, either graphene or graphene oxide is the perfect product of choice.

The Sixth Element has effectively integrated graphene types into HDPE pipes, which are utilized throughout the oil and gas industry. Depending on the mechanical and electrical requirements of the HDPE pipes, different graphene types or reduced graphene oxides can be used. The addition of just a small amount of graphene can considerably improve the mechanical properties, flame retardancy, and electrical conductivity of the pipeline.

Graphene oxide sheets are typically abundant in oxygen-containing functional groups. The mechanical properties of PA fibers can be strengthened by adding a limited amount of graphene oxide during the polymerization process. Furthermore, an increased level of anti-microbiological status is accomplished. The barrier properties of graphene also yields a better and higher flame retardance.

The Sixth Element is taking advantage of the superb adsorption and barrier properties of graphene by teaming up with a partner in China, a renowned mother and baby company, to develop a KN95 mask for children - one of the raw materials of this mask is graphene powder. The filter component of the mask incorporates the graphite modified filter screen, which has passed the Chinese standard GB2626-2006 test and reached the KN95 standard. It can successfully protect against epidemic diseases, haze, and aerosols and has excellent air permeability.

For the Chinese market, The Sixth Element (Changzhou) provides a water-based graphene suspension with SE4102 and a graphene oxide suspension with SE3521.

Throughout Europe, The Sixth Element are establishing together with partners the possibility to supply ready to use suspension. Suspensions available at the present time are predicated on either bisphenol A-, F epoxy matrixes, or on xylene, a solvent used predominately in coatings.

Moreover, a state-of-the-art, water-based system has been developed which does not necessitate for an alcohol for stabilization.

In addition, new pioneering products for energy storage, batteries, reinforced plastics, adhesives and coatings are currently in development.