A big bang

By Jennifer Tidball

It’s a research success story that starts with an explosion and continues with the formation of a company based on Kansas State University research.

Or, as physicist Chris Sorensen calls it: serendipity.

“We discovered graphene serendipitously in the lab when we were using controlled explosions to make an aerosol gel,” said Sorensen, Cortelyou-Rust university distinguished professor of physics and university distinguished teaching scholar. “I wasn’t expecting to make graphene.”

But make graphene they did. And that’s just the first chapter of the story.

Now, the groundbreaking graphene and related hydrogen research has turned into a successful international company: HydroGraph Clean Power Inc. The company recently went public on the Canadian Securities Exchange and is preparing for decades of growth as an important research and development hub.

HydroGraph and the K-State research involve a simple new way to create graphene: Put acetylene and oxygen in a small chamber and create a controlled detonation that produces large amounts of graphene from a single spark.

Read more about the research.