Email of the day
Comment of the Day

November 27 2013

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day

On Material Sciences and Graphene:

"Isn't Graphene an amazing sounding material - it may make that BMW plant using carbon fibre obsolete just a bit sooner than one might expect.

"I attended a Material Sciences conference on at the Royal Society some years ago and one speaker was going through the 'ages of man' - 'Stone Age' 'Iron Age' Bronze Age' etc -in his view the early part of 21st Century was going to be the 'Ceramics Age' (ceramic engines, jet engine turbines blades, valves pumps, silicon chips, replacement hips etc.all replacing metals ) and then this would be followed by the 'Polymer Age'- incredible thin ,flexible,hard wearing mouldable materials that would (almost) totally replace wood, plastics, metals - and even the 'new ceramics'.

"Beyond that - who knows! As you say in your commentaries, the pace of technological change is speeding up exponentially but also, the speed at which work in the lab moves into the workplace, is getting even quicker.

"Keep up the good work and best wishes to you all."

David Fuller's view

Thanks for an informative email of general interest. Graphene is amazing and I am fascinated by how it may be used or is already in use. Mrs Fuller has been telling me to invest in it for years, and I agree but the best way to do this is not obvious, at least not yet to me.

I do not think that buying the first commercial producers of a miraculous product such as graphene is the best way to profit from it, at least not over the longer term given all the competition that will develop. Instead, I would prefer to own the companies which benefit most from their uses of new technologies such as graphene.

I suspect it will be the Autonomies, but which ones? Graphene will have so many applications, presumably from microprocessors to large machines and eventually even construction sites. We need to stay informed on this subject over the next many years and I will welcome any interesting reports which subscribers may discover.

Re BMW's fully automated carbon fibre plant, I also shared your opening thoughts above when I wrote about it, but then assumed that the car manufacturer had done extensive research on the subject. Carbon fibre is today's new product for mass production cars (according to BMW but not Daimler) and presumably they can refit their plants for graphene as and when required.

That Material Sciences conference at the Royal Society sounds brilliant. I must keep an eye on their future events.

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