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EDA study to assess graphene potential for defence

The European Defence Agency (EDA) today hosted the kick-off meeting for a new study to be carried out over the next 12 months on possible future applications of graphene in the military domain and its expected impact on the European defence industry. 

Among the materials with the highest potential for revolutionizing defence capabilities in the next decade, graphene comes high up on the list. Light and flexible and yet 200 times stronger than steel, its electrical conductivity is extraordinary (better than silicon) as is its thermal conductivity. Graphene also has remarkable properties in the so-called ‘signature management’ field, meaning it can be used to produce radar absorbent coatings making military vehicles, planes, submarines or vessels almost undetectable.  All this makes of graphene an extremely attractive material not only for civil industries but also for military applications in the land, air and maritime domains. 

To explore the latter, the EDA launched the graphene study which, following a Europe-wide call for tenders, was assigned to Fundacion Tecnalia Research and Innovation (Spain) who will collaborate with two partners, the Technical University of Cartagena (Spain) and Cambridge Nanomaterial Technology Ltd (United Kingdom). All consortium members have proven experience in graphene research and also in the defence sector.

Main objectives

The study has three main objectives:

  • to analyse and evaluate to what extent graphene is already used in dual-use or military areas and what the prospects of future defence applications are;
  • to develop an ambitious yet realistic roadmap for the development of graphene in the defence domains, backed and supported by the EDA’s ‘Materials’ CapTech;
  • to demonstrate graphene’s defence-related potential through a series of practical experiments the results of which will be published in a scientific journal 

Denis Roger, the EDA’s European Synergies & Innovation (ESI) Director, commented: “The European defence research landscape certainly stands to benefit substantially from graphene and its potential future applications in the military domain. The EDA’s study launched today could open the way towards new exciting research and capability development opportunities. We are very much looking forward to its results”. 

The study findings are expected to be published in December 2018/January 2019.

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