Carbon Research and Development Company of Wise

Locally in the news over in Wise County, a relatively new research center is looking to become the graphene hub of America. Graphene is the version of carbon that is the strongest material currently known to exist. Often hyped as a wonder material, it’s a substance that may possibly transform the electronics industry and be put to other creative uses. Currently production obstacles concerning making it both a low cost substance and also developing uses that will be affordable have been a major obstacle.
Carbon Research and Development Company is seeking to resolve these issues at their Graphene Research Center in Wise County. Last year the research center moved into a 24,000 square foot building in the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park. The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority granted a $1.5 million loan for laboratory equipment and other improvements towards the testing of potential graphene uses.
Scientists discovered this wonder material more than a decade past, and two physicists from the University of Manchester in England were awarded the Nobel Prize for their work with graphene. The Graphene Research Center has already been approached by companies for various possibilities including a glass company that with a thin coating of graphene would eliminate damage.
The Graphene Research Center is currently working with Virginia Tech studying the market viability for coal-derived graphene and southwest Virginia’s potential to be part of that market. GO Virginia has already approved $25,000 worth of funding for the study. While coal is an inexpensive and abundant source of graphene, not enough coal is used in the production of graphene to revive the laboring coal industry.
Graphene is 22x stronger than steel and yet so thin that a million layers of it would be as thick as saran wrap. This translates to a single gram of the substance has the ability to cover more than an acre of land. In addition to be the most pliable, it also conducts heat and electricity better than any other material to date. Potentially it could be used to make super long lasting batteries or amazingly durable smartphones that could be as thin as a sheet of paper.

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