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GrafTech International Ltd. was awarded four new patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The flexible graphite patents cover important aspects of GTI’s developing technologies in fuel cell, industrial heat management (IHM) and electronic thermal management (ETM) markets.
One strength of GTI’s business is its expertise in natural graphite processing. Natural graphite is the primary raw material used in products for the fuel cell, ETM, IHM and other of GTI’s growth businesses. Patent 6,416,815 titled “”Expandable Graphite and Method”” describes a unique chemical process that allows GTI to use smaller, less costly, flake that is widely available in mines throughout the world.
Two of the other newly issued patents focus on the superior features of GTI’s flexible graphite materials for use in the fuel cell market. Patents 6,413,671 and 6,413,633 describe two gas permeable flexible graphite components that can be used to replace the high cost carbon fiber composites currently used for gas diffusion layers. GTI’s gas permeable flexible graphite has higher electrical and thermal conductivity, has better conformability and can be cost effectively manufactured in high volumes. These patents will support GTI’s continuous efforts in its collaboration with Ballard Power Systems in the development of proton exchange membrane fuel cells.
Patent 6,413,601 describes a heat management system for high temperature furnaces, which combines the conductive properties of flexible graphite with the insulating properties of other materials. The technology allows for the engineering of thermal performance including the containment of heat in processing systems. These unique features of the combined material solution provide customers with increased value by reducing furnace cycle time, energy costs and system maintenance. GTI’s technology is now being implemented in a growing number of furnaces in the nearly $500 million industrial furnace insulation market.
“”Leveraging our strong carbon and graphite know-how, we are developing lower cost, higher performing products to meet next generation performance requirements in various industries,”” stated Scott Mason, President of GTI’s Advanced Energy Technology Division. “”Our intellectual property portfolio is a valuable asset and its value will become increasingly apparent as we penetrate our target markets with our innovative energy solutions.””
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