Graphene technology makes maintenance-free circuit breakers a reality

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Graphmatech have joined the Graphene Flagship’s new CircuitBreakers Spearhead Project, bringing the latest in graphene technology to efforts to make circuit breaker maintenance and failures a thing of the past. The project aims to prototype the first self-lubricating breakers, with potentially huge savings – not just in price.

Low voltage circuit breakers, which are commonly used in both domestic and industrial settings, require grease to lubricate their mechanical steel parts. The grease can stiffen or dry out over time, is sensitive to temperature and can move away from contact points, causing the metal to wear and the circuit breaker to fail.

Technicians have identified lack of lubrication as the number one problem found when servicing breakers. In most cases this will result in regular servicing and high maintenance costs, however in critical facilities the cost of interrupted operations has the potential to be much higher.

Anna Andersson, leader for the CircuitBreakers Spearhead Project and principle scientist at ABB corporate research, explains.

“These next generation circuit breakers will enable a robust electrical system that secures the continuous operation of critical facilities, such as renewable-energy generation sources, hospitals and data centres. Although circuit breakers are designed and thoroughly validated for the application, the risk of any undesired outage of an electrical system due to circuit breaker failure cannot be taken lightly.”

Harnessing the potential of graphene to solve industrial challenges

Large-scale industrial applications of graphene have long been hindered by agglomeration and processing-related issues – the tendency of graphene to clump together and revert back to a graphite-like state, losing its unique properties. Graphmatech has overcome this challenge with the invention of its patented Aros Graphene®, which enables the graphene to be evenly dispersed through other materials while retaining the full power of its ground-breaking properties.

Graphmatech has also developed various metal-Aros Graphene® composites to address a range of industrial applications, as well as the processes for producing these composites in semi-large industrial scales.

The CircuitBreakers Spearhead Project

The project is an initiative of the Graphene Flagship, a €1 billion Future and Emerging Technology Flagship from the European Commission – one of several ambitious, large-scale research initiatives targeting visionary goals.

“This project will push the development of highly performing graphene-based electrical contacts higher on the technology readiness scale and, hopefully, to the market” says Dr Mamoun Taher, CEO and founder of Graphmatech AB.

Graphmatech will be granted €650 000 for the project, joining industrial partners ABB and Nanesa in developing the grease-free circuit breaker. A fully tested prototype is expected to be ready for industrial implementation in just three years.


More information about the CircuitBreakers Spearhead Project

(via Graphene Flagship)

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