Earlier this month, we reported on research that was bringing the attractive qualities of graphene in its 2-D form to the fabrication of 3-D objects.
Now a start-up based in Calverton, NY, Graphene 3D Lab, Inc., has made commercially available a graphene-based conductive polymer filament for use in 3-D printing to fabricate electronic devices. The graphene-based filament, which is targeted for both industry and hobbyists, has been dubbed Black Magic 3D.
“Our material is the most electrically conductive material on the market right now and is the best option for 3-D printing of electronics,” claimed Daniel Stolyarov, who along with Elena Polyakova, are Co-CEOs, in an e-mail interview. “Even though our material is more expensive, you only need a very small amount (a few grams), which would cost as low as $1, along with regular material to make 3-D printed electronics. Without graphene this is not possible.”
Stolyarov believes that this graphene-enabled polymer filament is unique on the market in its ability to impart electrical conductivity. Stolyarov argues that their product compares favorably to other 3-D printing filaments that have at best a volume resistivity of 15 Ohms-centimeter (Ohms-cm), whereas Black Magic 3D’s volume resistivity measures at 0.6 Ohms-cm—25 times better. According to Stolyarov, 15 Ohms-cm is just not good enough for most of electronic applications. If electrical properties are poor, the device will not work properly.
Stolyarov has pointed to the emerging trend of 3-D printed electronics, which he believes may soon show explosive growth. An indication of this potential was the recent launch of a new 3-D printer from a company called Voxel8 that specifically targets the printing of electronics and circuitry.
However, Stolyarov is quick to note that his company’s graphene-based filament can be used with just about any 3-D printer on the market now, from hobbyist to industrial.
To demonstrate how the graphene-based filament can fabricate devices requiring high thermal and electrical conductivity, the company produced a battery. It seems that this battery design remains primarily to demonstrate the capabilities of the graphene 3-D printing filament.
“The 3-D printed graphene battery project is still being developed and we are very much looking forward to offering more details on the technology in the future,” said Stolyarov.