Wonder material 

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A material manufactured by a Cheltenham company is set to revolutionise the way we monitor health. Graphene, manufactured by Versarien is ultra-light but immensely tough; 200 times stronger than steel and the thinnest material possible as well as being transparent and a superb conductor.

It was reported last week that the University of Texas has developed a graphene-based tattoo that could function as a wearable electronic device to monitor health. Graphene is more conductive than gold, can be hundreds of times thinner and allows the tattoo to wrinkle naturally with the skin. The tattoo could provide vital information about a person’s health by measuring the electrical activity of the brain, muscles or heart.

Now Versarien is struggling to keep up with demand for its wonder material. Neill Ricketts, MD of Versarien, (pictured) said, “Currently there aren’t enough hours in the day, given the level of international demand for the material, our guys in Cheltenham are working flat out with some of the largest companies in the world”. He added, “We haven’t seen a material yet that isn’t improved in some way using these new materials we are producing, and I am working with my colleagues at GFirst LEP to continue to expand the business here in Gloucestershire, to make Gloucestershire the production centre of the world for graphene”. “The best bit is that graphene is the first of hundreds, if not thousands, of new materials coming and Versarien is poised to be the world leader, with its partners at University of Manchester and Cambridge”.

Graphene can also be used in everything from the production of aircraft, where its ultra-light properties are invaluable, to food packaging to keep food fresher for longer.