Graphene-coated motorcycle helmet improves comfort and safety
Image credit: Momo Design
A graphene-coated motorcycle helmet that dissipates heat and is less prone to cracking in crashes has been introduced by an Italian luxury design firm.
The helmet, developed by Momo Design in cooperation with the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), incorporates the wonder material into its solid outer shell. Thanks to graphene’s heat conductive properties, the helmet dissipates heat quickly, which prevents degradation of materials used in the helmet’s inner shell and provides better comfort for the wearer.
The firm says the helmet also better distributes impact forces, which improves safety.
“I started to read publications about graphene with curiosity and interest,” said Momo Design President Marco Cattaneo. “This is our formula: to bring together invention and innovation, functionality and beauty in order to create a truly unique product.”
The company produced the first batch of 3,000 helmets using a graphene-coating process developed by IIT. The researchers managed to successfully integrate the procedure directly into the manufacturing line at the company’s plant in northern Italy.
“We had to work very hard on each step of this process, taking into account costs and delays in production due to the additional coating procedure,” said Vittorio Pellegrini, Director of IIT Graphene Labs and Chair of the Executive Board of the Graphene Flagship. “Finally, we developed a process fully compatible with that used by Momo Design for their standard helmets.”
The manufacturing process starts with the production of a graphene powder consisting of multi-layer graphene flakes. This powder is subsequently mixed into a solution and then spray-coated onto the exterior shell of the helmets.
The first graphene helmets were produced only 18 months after the team first got together.
“The Graphene Labs at IIT collaboration with Momo Design is a prime example of bringing the latest graphene-based technologies from laboratory to industry applications,” said Kari Hjelt, from the EU-funded research initiative Graphene Flagship, which supported the project.
While the first graphene helmets are already available to customers in selected motoring showrooms, the Momo Design and IIT team is now considering how to use graphene to enhance the inner polysterene shell of the products.
“Our aims for the future are to continue evolving as a company with the development of other graphene helmets,” said Cattaneo.
The researchers expect that a helmet with graphene on the inside could be thinner, but still sturdy and safe.