Today, we will consider whether flake graphene can prove helpful in designing and producing modern, lightweight, and durable hydrogen storage tanks. It’s important to remember that hydrogen is the smallest and most mobile known molecule, which means it can effectively penetrate through various types of materials. The permeation through the walls of storage tanks is associated with financial losses and safety concerns. Therefore, solutions to mitigate these risks should be sought.

This challenge has motivated scientists from several institutes within the Łukasiewicz Research Network. One of our ongoing projects aims to develop a type IV compressed hydrogen tank for use in vehicles. As part of the experimental work, we decided to examine several important parameters of G-Flake® graphene materials, including their concentration and distribution within the polymer matrix of the tank.

Graphene layers in the polymer matrix are capable of creating a winding path that acts as a gas barrier. High complexity leads to excellent barrier properties and lower gas permeability. From a practical standpoint, uniform dispersion in the polymer matrix, oxidation degree, and flake size are crucial. When graphene is deposited on the polymer surface, scientific literature highlights the high specific surface area and high electron density of carbon rings as key properties affecting graphene’s low gas permeability, including hydrogen. We will continue our work in the future year to get more knowledge on the mechanisms standing behind barrier-related phenomena. If you want to know more, you can contact Stefan Marynowicz, the PI of the project part realized at our institute.

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