We recently sat down with two of the founding members of Graphene Composites, Carol Jarvest and Sandy Chen, to discuss how graphene & aerogel composite technology is ready to have a profound impact on human life. Whilst the company, recent winners of the North East Space Agency award and accepted into NASA’s space technology transfer program, are currently out to market with armour protection, they see no reason why the technology cannot evolve to benefit society as a whole.

Graphene is THE strongest known material to man. When you combine it with aerogels – the lightest, most shockabsorbent material developed – it creates something truly special. An unrivalled combination of strength and lightness.

“We began investigating how this material could be used practically, therefore focused on our first product– body armour. Carrying out private, as well as independent testing, the armour successfully withstands an AR-15 assault rifle firing a 2 round burst of M193 bullets. To put it into context, that’s 2 or 3 times faster than the speed of sound”.
Sandy Chen, CEO & Co Founder

Sandy went on to explain how hypersonic forces enhance the strength properties of the material.

“It’s all down to the hypersonic shear thickening effect. The armour’s hypersonic force dispersion and reflectionmeans that the harder the impact on the material, the harder IT gets”.

Not prepared to rest on their laurels, body armour is just the beginning. The material’s exceptional performance means the technology could be deployed to the MoD, schools, as well as the automotive, aviation and marine industries.

“Graphene composites can and WILL make a difference to everyday life. That is what is at the heart of what we are trying to achieve with this innovative advanced product design”.
Carol Jarvest, Marketing Director & Co Founder

The UK government has already realised the potential of using such a material. The CPI (Centre for Process Innovation) has become a joint development partner, recognizing its high-value appeal.

For Graphene Composites, the next adventure is very much aerospace, with their material demonstrating similar performance as carbon-fibre but at less than half the weight! By curing multiple layers of graphene-infused polymer, aerogels and other aerospace materials into a strong, lightweight substance, it will provide a higher degree of shock/impact resistance. Aerogel layers dampen vibrations, which is crucial to the transonic performance - the transition from subsonic to supersonic.

Whilst rigorous aviation testing mean the material may be 10 years or so from being used on passenger aircrafts, the reality is we could be seeing this technology in our communities, in various product forms, a lot sooner than expected.