Mining exploration company Kibaran Resources has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with 3D Group, an emerging marketer of 3D printing systems and services, to investigate the use of graphite and graphene in 3D Printing.
As the West Australian reports, the partnership will focus on research and patent development.
According to Kibaran, 3D Printing is forecast to grow from its current value of $US3.8 billion to $US16.2 billion by 2018 and graphene could potentially be used to significantly expand the applications of the technology.
Graphene is a one-atom thick, near transparent sheet of graphite which is stronger than diamonds or steel but also flexible. It is also a better conductor of electricity than copper.
According to some commentators, when used in 3D Printing applications, it could even lead to a new industrial revolution.
“3D technology has the potential to bring about a quantum shift in the way we produce new materials and products, including whole structures or individual components, in a raft of new industries,” Kibaran executive director Andrew Spinks said.
Kibaran is developing graphite deposits in Tanzania. Under the agreement any research conducted will source materials from those operations.