May 8, 2018

Full-fledged Development of Composite Materials Using New Carbonaceous Material Graphene

Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (President: Akira Takeuchi; Capital: 119.4 billion yen; hereinafter "Mitsubishi Materials") has agreed to subscribe to newly‒issued shares of Incubation Alliance, Inc.*2 (President and CEO: Kazuo Muramatsu; Capital: 600 million yen; hereinafter "InALA"), a developer and manufacturer of a new carbonaceous material, graphene*1, to acquire InALA's equity through the third-party allocation of new shares and has decided to shift to the full-fledged development of composite materials using graphene in collaboration with InALA.

Mitsubishi Materials established EV Material Development & Recycling Business Promotion Dept. within Corporate Division this April and has been promoting the creation of new products and new business targeted at Electric Vehicles. Furthermore, InALA has succeeded in developing the world's first high productivity manufacturing method of high-quality graphene and is currently working to establish a full-fledged mass-production system. Graphene, InALA's strength, has unique characteristics, including excellent heat conductivity, which is theoretically 10 times better than that of copper, and is lightweight, expected to be applied as heat radiation material for smartphones, electric vehicles and other devices that generate more heat with the recent advancement of IoT technology.

Against such background, Mitsubishi Materials, with strengths in non-ferrous metal materials, such as copper and aluminum, will collaborate with InALA on graphene materials with an aim to create non-conventional and unique hybrid products made of graphene.

The Mitsubishi Materials Group has a vision of "becoming the leading business group committed to creating a sustainable world through materials innovation, with use of its unique and distinctive technologies, for People, Society and the Earth" in its long-term management policy. InALA is an R&D type company dedicated to bringing cutting-edge carbon nanomaterials into practical use. The two companies will contribute to the development of society through collaboration in product development by leveraging their own technologies.

Graphene is a carbon allotrope and, strictly speaking, refers to a sheet-shaped substance that is as thin as a single carbon atom (single layer of carbon atoms). It is known as a new carbonaceous material with extremely unique physical properties. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, researchers at the University of Manchester, U.K., were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for exfoliating a single sheet of graphene from graphite for the first time and clarifying its unique nature in 2004. Multilayer graphene, which is comprised of multiple layers of graphene, also shares same unique physical properties. For example, it is harder than a diamond and is very strong (around 200 times stronger than steel). It also conducts electricity around 1.2 times better than copper and around 10 times better thermal conductivity.
Recently, development activities have been vigorously conducted around the world by taking advantage of such unique mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of graphene to develop application products, such as electronic devices, heat radiation materials and electrode materials. However, low-cost mass production technology for graphene is far from established, which is inhibiting the practical application of graphene on a wider spectrum.
Incubation Alliance, Inc.
1) Established
May 2007
2) Representative
President and CEO, Kazuo Muramatsu
3) Capital
600 million yen
4) Main stock holders
Kazuo Muramatsu 22.5%, Innovation Network Corporation of Japan 31.5%, Air Water Inc. 11.9%, etc. (as of the end of March 2018)
5) Number of employees
6) Company history
Founded by Mr. Kazuo Muramatsu (current President and CEO), an ex-researcher of Kobe Steel, Ltd. InALA has sophisticated synthesis technology, which was showcased by its successful world's first direct synthesis of several layers of graphene without using a substrate and catalysis. Centering on its core technology, mass-production of high-quality graphene at a low cost, the company has been developing the carbon material business by distributing multilayer graphene extracts and sheet-shaped products of graphene.