Australian experts will use a new research hub to help graphene leave the lab.

The University of Adelaide has launched the ARC Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation.

It is intended to develop high-value products and innovative solutions from graphene – dubbed the “miracle material of the 21st century” - for industries as diverse as agriculture, mining, construction, medical technologies and defence.

Graphene is a form of carbon consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal lattice, which has shown an astounding set of properties in the laboratory.

It is the thinnest, strongest, lightest material known, with the greatest surface area, and the best electrical and thermal conductivity properties of any other material, as well as being flexible, water repellent and non-toxic with some anti-bacterial properties,

The Research Hub is supporting commercialisation of graphene research in a partnership between universities and industry partners. It is funded through the Australian Research Council’s Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme with a $2.6 million grant, with industry partners contributing over $3 million.

South Australia has the largest deposit of high quality of graphite in Australia, at 200 million tonnes.

“It has the potential for new disruptive technology that will change our lives and create new industries, the same as silicon did 60 years ago,” says Professor Dusan Losic, Director of the ARC Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation, which is based in the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering.

The research group in Adelaide are already working on a new generation of fire retardant products, construction materials, advanced protective coatings for defence and industrial applications including slow-release fertilisers; and new electrical devices and super-batteries.

“The aim is that our research will transform industry and support Australian businesses to embrace cutting-edge innovation and technologies that deliver high-value returns and build new industries,” Professor Losic said.

“We have a vision of South Australia becoming the ‘Graphene Valley’ of Australia.”

The University of Adelaide will lead the new ARC Research Hub with collaborators at Monash University, University of Melbourne and University of South Australia.

The commercial partners are Archer Exploration Limited, Ziltek Pty Ltd, Qingdao Huagao Graphene Technology Corporation Limited, First Graphene Limited, and Cleanfuture Energy Australia Pty Ltd.