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Graphmatech’s Graphene Technology Enhances Copper Processability

Research shows graphene lowers reflectivity of copper powder to achieve more dense AM printed parts.
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Researchers at Uppsala University collaborated with Graphmatech to improve the printability of copper for laser additive manufacturing (AM). The result is graphene technology, which significantly lowers the reflectivity of copper powder to achieve more dense printed parts

Pure copper has been a challenge in AM due to its high reflectivity. At the wavelengths commonly used in laser powder bed fusion (PBF) — a dominant technology in metal AM — only a small part of the energy is absorbed by the material, resulting in low-density printed parts.

Graphene technology offers a solution. By modifying the surface of the copper powder using graphene, researchers reduced its reflectance by up to 67%, the company says. The incorporated graphene also survived the printing process to positively impact the density of the printed copper ­graphene parts, significantly reducing their porosity.

The research was undertaken by Professor Ulf Jansson's research group at Angstrom Laboratory, Uppsala University, with doctoral student Simon Tiden, who recently won a poster prize at the Swedish Arena for Additive Manufacturing of Metals Conference for the work.

"The new process developed to coat metal powder with graphene opens up very interesting perspectives for the design of new materials in various application,” Professor Jansson says.

Graphmatech is now scaling up this technology, having already made advances in other graphene-metal composites and coated powders for AM with other project partners.

“This 3D-printable hybrid material has the potential to add value in a range of sectors such as e-mobility, electronics and defense,” says Dr. Mamoun Taher, Graphmatech CEO.

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