UCLan researchers send 2D materials to space

Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire have launched the world's first 2D material into space.

By comparing it to a standard carbon fibre casing, researchers will be able to test how both react to extreme conditions high above the Earth. They will then compare the results to determine how graphene can be utilised in the UK space industry.

UCLan scientists believe that graphene, in combination with other materials, could allow satellites to be lighter, reducing the costs of launching them into space and making them more robust against the impacts of debris.

To ensure accurate results, sensors will be attached to each casing to monitor and record key data including how they react to temperatures of up to minus 60 degrees, and the effects of very low pressure. This launch will provide researchers with the raw data that will enable them to take the next critical steps in their research.

Dr Darren Ansell, space and aerospace engineer at UCLan said: “We wanted to go one step further following the launch of Prospero last year and explore how graphene could potentially form an integral component of future satellites and space vehicles."

Elizabeth Seaman, head of major projects and technology development at the UK Space Agency commented: “This project will take graphene to new heights and show us what the material could do for the UK’s growing space sector.

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