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back to article Brit graphene maker poised to go public: Yes, wonder stuff WILL float

A British startup whose goal is to seriously expand production of graphene and push Blighty to the front of a global race goes public on Wednesday. Applied Graphene Materials will IPO on London's AIM stock exchange with the goal of raising £11m from investors hungry to get in on the ground floor of what’s been hailed as a " …

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Invented In Britain

Swallowed up for a song by the Septics.

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Boffin

check youtube...

Some homebrew guy has been at it....

P.

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Are patents slowing this down?

Rather than playing a chess game with patents in an attempt to block competitors, they should be working diligently, flat-out in a race to market with working product. The impediment to that is patents.

We need to conduct some research to determine the extent to which patents actually inhibit innovation, destroy competition and disproportionately reward rent-seeking doorkeepers. I am sure it is negative, but it would be nice to know just how bad. I expect it is much worse than people realize.

I am really excited about how we are poised for so many amazing things in materials science, robotics, energy, etc. The world *could* be simply awesome in 20 years if we will only let it happen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Are patents slowing this down?

Freetard. Patents aren't obstructing progress, they are guaranteeing it. Do you think investors would put up a single penny if they thought somebody else could simply copy the process for free? Commercial secrecy is rarely much defence.

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Re: Are patents slowing this down?

Re: "they are guaranteeing it"

If there were any credible proof of this then the rent-seekers would have that right out front and center. They would take out advertisements to shout it from the rooftops. The fact that you never see the case being made can only mean one of two things:

For some reason they don't know themselves because they never bothered to do any research on this at all.

OR

They did the research and they don't like the answers.

I am strongly of the opinion that Patents are an absolute disaster. Raising funding in a patent-friendly environment is significantly more difficult and risky for someone like me, that much is certain.

Unlike the shadowy entities that insist that Patents are net good, but can't quite seem to get their hands on any evidence, my first suggestion is to gather some evidence and take a look. I am entirely confident that the current patent regime is distinctly net negative. It actually decreases our aggregate wealth. It is only promoted by those who care nothing about the size of the pie, only that they get more.

I have a horrible feeling that if you look at the budgets of the alleged 'contributors' attempting to capitalize on patents you will find that they spend most or all of their money on lawyers rather than R&D and factories. As they currently exist, patents are all about harassing and hobbling the competition, raising the price of entry and exacting a tax on the work of others.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Are patents slowing this down?@btrower 16:13

If you're so confident about the net bad bit, let's see *your* evidence. Terms like "I am strongly of the opinion", "entirely confident" and "I have a horrible feeling" aren't very convincing.

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Re: Are patents slowing this down?@btrower 16:13

Re: If you're so confident about the net bad bit, let's see *your* evidence. Terms like "I am strongly of the opinion", "entirely confident" and "I have a horrible feeling" aren't very convincing.

I am in agreement as to the rhetoric. Strong words hardly make a logical case.

The 'null hypothesis' has to be that patents have no net beneficial effect. The reason for that is that the laws allowing them creates a monopoly on something backed by the coercive power of the state. Unless we can show that patents have their intended effect, they violate the notion that everyone is treated the same under the law. This is codified by the so-called 'Equal Protection Clause' of the fourteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The 'equal protection' above has been interpreted by the courts to basically mean equality among all people.

If the coercive power of the state is to be brought to bear on an individual exercising their ordinary rights (and yes, you have a 'right' to do stuff that is not harming others) there has to be a reason and the reason must be compelling enough to trump personal liberty.

Apropos of 'rights', the House of Lords from which we inherit some of our laws and interpretations ruled in 1774 that neither copyrights or patents were 'rights'. That is, it is not inherent in the act of invention or creation that someone gains control of the expression or invention.

The clause that enables patents in Article 1, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution has been ruled to not just grant powers but also to limit them. Specifically "'the patent system as adopted must "promote the Progress of...useful Arts.'"

"in Graham v. John Deere Co. (1966), the Court declared that Congress may not grant patents 'without regard to the innovation, advancement or social benefit gained thereby' or 'whose effects are to remove information from the public domain or to restrict free access to materials already available.' More generally, it concluded that the patent system as adopted must "promote the Progress of...useful Arts."

Unless the patent holder can make the case that the patent 'promotes progress', the patent can't have force in law because it is specifically limited in that regard by the law of the land.

Therefore: the case *for* patents must be made before they can be enforced.

I have seen no valid research treatment supporting the net public utility of patents. As I hinted at before, it seems only reasonable that multi-billion dollar industries that depend upon patents for their income would have done a little leg-work to prove that case if such a case could be made.

My 'action item' for society is to just do the research and determine if patents have net utility for the body politic. If they do not, abolish them, if they do then bring the patent regime into line with its maximum net utility for society.

It is easy enough to demonstrate that patents and copyrights create injury. Most of us spend our lives either in school learning or in industry working. In school, copyrights prevent students from reading. That is, they can read some things but likely not the best things because they cannot afford to pay rent-seekers for the right. This has gone to ridiculous extremes. Springer-Verlag charges $25.00 and more for an article that costs so little to deliver that its cost is not measurable -- less than a penny. In industry, patents and copyrights either burden industry with additional costs or cause them to use lesser tools to create inferior designs. These are purely as a result of pressure from copyrights and the Patent system.

I am a software developer and both copyrights and patents have a particularly pernicious effect in this industry. It is not possible to build and sell non-trivial things without interference from Copyrights and Patents. Even open source software suffers from some uncertainty with respect to patents and if nothing else many of the open source copyrights interfere with commercial development.

Whenever you encounter an patent or copyright in the course of Software development, you either have to find funds to pay a rent-seeker or you have to stop and figure out how to accomplish your goal another way. In either event you wast time and/or money that does not go into your product, but rather into the pockets of rent-seekers who contributed nothing at all to your work.

If the RIAA and MPAA are correct about their outrageous valuations of their copyrights then abolishing them would instantly release trillions of dollars of value. Unless there is a compelling case against it, this value should be released.

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Meh

Re: Are patents slowing this down?

Actually there has been a (literal*) ton of research on the subject including many by certain people that actually mean something. The problem around correcting the "flaws" in the patent system are political, not factual. Given that the home inventor is a rare bird, the current system supports corporations who donate funds and services to politicians, I seriously doubt you'll see any changes whatsoever.

(* If I printed out just what I've stored here, minding that it's only the statistically valid models, it would literally weigh a ton. And, yes, econometrics is something I was rather good at, so I can recognize quality.)

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Coat

So, once they go public, will they have a shareholders AGM?

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The potential for a real wide-reaching revolution is here ...

... unlike this 3D printing bollocks.

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Re: The potential for a real wide-reaching revolution is here ...

"... unlike this 3D printing bollocks."

Actually 3D printing is already revolutionising stuff, but it's high end. So you can make aerospace grade components with integral hinged or moving parts, and no further machining required. Shapes and structures that simply could not be made by conventional machining. They can be lighter and stronger than alternatives, and they can be produced on demand. If you get a chance, go and see one of BAES' mobile exhibitions that shows the journey from design through plastic 3D prototyping to metal 3D printed production, and talk to some of the guys that work on this stuff.

Admittedly it's seriously expensive, and not coming to a car or washing machine near you anytime soon (currently reserved for machines to kill foreigners), but rest assured it will eventually.

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The most logical IPO I've seen in a while

I have to admit, this is the first time in years I've seen a medium-to-high-profile IPO that didn't make me wonder "ok, so what capital expense will this large influx of capital cover?"

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Re: The most logical IPO I've seen in a while

That surprised me here. I guess that they don't have some marketing or accounting type in charge, yet, so you will be hearing from scientists and engineers, for now, about building something useful. I don't expect it to last, but ... nice!

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That's not graphene!

Graphene is one atomic layer thick. When there are multiple layers it becomes graphite - the stuff that makes pencils work. This stuff might be easier to make, but its properties are nothing like those of the real thing.

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Re: That's not graphene!

I had to up vote you because you're correct.

The question is how can they say its graphene and that it will have the same strength. Not that Graphite doesn't have its own value, but that if I buy a 3cm by 6cm square of their 2 micron thick material, and then compare it to 2 micron thick steel... (if I can get it...) would it be 200X stronger ?

If I were to take 500 layers of the strips laid out in a crossing pattern and glued them together (think carbon fiber) it would be at least 1/64th of an inch thick, although the glue/resin would make it thicker. If I compared it to a 1/64th inch thick piece of steel, or a slightly thicker piece, would it still be 200X stronger?

Now that would be interesting. Then you could take and create a fabric composed of sheets of this and carbon fiber to create very thin skins for cars and other products.

Does anyone know if they've produced any research on their product in terms of compression and tensile strength?

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HMB

Re: That's not graphene!

I think we might be venturing into the 'little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing' zone.

I'm not a graphene expert, but I imagine that graphite is a lot more of a patchy sandwich of small 'graphene like' pieces. Also if in graphite there are occasional stray carbon to carbon bonds, it will change the structure of the carbon 'sheet'. Layering graphene together could have radically different properties to graphite.

Also at this level, intermolecular forces will keep the layers stuck together (just not with a huge amount of strength).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's not graphene!

Indeed - this isn't proper "electronics wundermaterial" graphene - this is cheap, low quality, pump it out stuff, the "stick a bit of it in your tennis racket/engine oil and overcharge people for it" level of graphene.

Chemical Vapour Deposition - the acronym is CVN? 'Cos in the semiconductor industry where I sell tools for this, it's known as CVD :)

But it has the magic G word in so people will invest.

I'd also like to point out that Manchester aren't only looking at "cleaving" type methods as the article states. Commercial applications for proper graphene applications are still 4-5 years off according to the various companies and research groups we supply...

AC/DC and apologies for the lack of specifics due to NDAs...

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Stop

to IPO

Last time I checked, IPO wasn't a verb. And even if it was by now, seriously, will IPO or IPOing would still look vomit inducing horribly wrong.

(Is there no grammar Nazi icon?)

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Headmaster

Re: to IPO

'The last time I checked, ....' or 'When I last checked, ...' would be correct.

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Re: to IPO

frank ly,

Good point! And good I'm not a hack ;-)

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Re: to IPO

(Is there no grammar Nazi icon?)

I nominate a screen grab of the Roman centurion giving Brian a good telling off for his "Romanus aeunt domus" graffiti in TLoB.

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Re: to IPO

Good point! And good I'm not a hack ;-)

Starting a sentence with "And"? Tut tut!

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Happy

Re: to IPO

Frumious Bandersnatch,

This isn't school. Starting a sentence with And can be acceptable. Whether it was in mine, I leave others to judge.

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Good luck

Quite apart from anything else, good luck to those folks trying to build a high tech industry in the North East. The folks up there have struggled long enough since the downturn in the mining etc industries.

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"Graphene is relatively simple – a sheet of graphite atoms"

"Graphite atoms" you say? Is that a new element?

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Devil

Re: "Graphene is relatively simple – a sheet of graphite atoms"

Yeah....its very similar to Unobtainium.

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At last. An IPO to raise capital for actual *stuff* assuming of course...

That the share will be being sold by the company (so the funds go into the company bank account, not the senior staffs).

Thumbs up for this but it will take a very strong management to remain independent and not get bought out by some American foreign conglomerate.

This could be one of the 21st century success stories of materials processing, in the way that say Gore Tex was in the 80's.

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Anonymous Coward

wonder stuff WILL float

Building up the value to the size of a cow?

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Two questions

- How toxic is it?

- How recyclable is it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Two questions

1) Not particularly - its carbon...

2) By definition it's an element, so not too tricky... Besides there's hardly a shortage of Carbon in the world...

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