Supply deal brings Australian-made, graphene-enhanced footwear closer to reality

Two WA companies, First Graphene (ASX: FGR) and boot-maker Steel Blue, announced a 24-month supply agreement, with graphene additives to enhance an upcoming release of safety boots.


This nanomaterial will be incorporated in boot components, including a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) sole. Graphene is a single layer of hexagonally-arranged carbon atoms, first successfully created in 2004.


According to the release, tests on prototypes with the NATA-accredited Viclab showed enhanced properties from the addition of graphene, with benefits such as increased heat and chemical resistance and improved mechanical strength.


Craig McGuckin, managing director of First Graphene, said the supply agreement was the first of several anticipated for 2020. 


“We are pleased to have worked with Steel Blue to develop a unique range of safety boots for local and export markets,” he said. 


“PureGRAPH additives are a key enabler in taking elastomers, composites, coatings and concrete materials to a new level and we will continue to seek out further new applications and markets where graphene can add value.”


The deal includes exclusivity for the supply of graphene formulation over two years. This will end if a minimum order quantity of two tonnes of graphene in the second year is not made by Steel Blue. 


Last August the two companies announced that First Graphene’s PureGRAPH 10 product had been successfully dispersed into TPU, an issue that required extensive R&D to do properly.


Steel Blue manufactures at Malaga, WA, and in Indonesia. First Graphene has an established 100 tonne per year graphene production capacity, and its primary manufacturing site is in Henderson.


Picture: Garry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Steel Blue, and McGuckin (source:


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