Lakshminarayanan Ragupathy of HLL Lifecare Ltd. in India will improve the safety and appeal of male condoms by incorporating graphene into existing natural rubber latex condoms. Graphene is a single-layer, crystalline form of carbon that is highly elastic and very strong. And, unlike latex, it also conducts heat. Mixing graphene with existing condom material should lead to stronger, thinner, heat-conducting condoms that are less noticeable for users, and allow for the incorporation of drugs and compounds that can protect against sexually transmitted diseases or enhance sexual experience. In Phase I, they used a planetary ball milling approach to produce graphene from graphite, incorporated it into natural rubber latex, and used that to produce condoms. Compared to traditional latex condoms, they found that their graphene condoms were over 20% stronger, conducted over 30% more heat, and were as safe to use. In Phase II, they will test the feasibility of scaling up production, and perform more detailed quality control tests as well as a human preclinical trial to evaluate whether graphene condoms are more pleasurable to use and are as safe and effective as traditional latex condoms.
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