The use of wonder material graphene in construction is to be accelerated with the help of consultancy firm Arcadis, after it agreed a deal with the University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC).
Graphene was first isolated at the university, and the GEIC has made Arcadis an affiliate partner, joining a cross-section of industry leaders from different sectors who will offer their insight, expertise and leadership to help drive graphene applications and processes.
Arcadis will contribute to the GEIC specifically in relation to the development of construction-related innovations. It will explore and test opportunities for the use of graphene in the construction sector, as well as introducing clients and supply chain members to the collaboration process.
Graphene is already being used in some next-generation construction materials such as photovoltaic cells and impermeable paint. It is among hundreds of new “2D” or “layered materials” offering an array of innovations that can be designed for specific applications in the sector.
The university’s facilities will form the heart of Manchester’s “Graphene City”, which will be centred on the GEIC. This will lead the development of new technologies, products and processes that make use of and commercialise 2D materials.
Arcadis’ new role came about after it helped to lead the delivery of several key buildings at the university, including the National Graphene Institute, GEIC and the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials. It is also acting as cost manager for the Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MEC-D), one of the largest single construction projects undertaken by any higher education institution in the UK.
Mel Manku, UK science and education sector leader at Arcadis, said: “Since 2012, we have been immersed in the university’s vision and objectives to globally lead the research and commercialisation of graphene and other 2D materials. While the facilities we have already delivered enable this vision to be realised, we have also been identifying strategic alternatives to support the university on its journey.
“It means that, together, we can accelerate outcomes which will benefit our industry through the use and application of more sustainable and innovative materials. We will be working with partners to explore and develop solutions quickly; test and move on.”
James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, added: “Arcadis has played a key part in the development and construction of the GEIC facility and we look forward to extending this partnership in developing the graphene supply-chain further for construction. Crucially, this partnership will form a key platform in the further development of ‘Graphene City’.”