About Materfad

Materfad Materials Centre in Barcelona performs a research and technological surveillance task in the field of new materials and provides consultancy and training services for companies, professionals, universities and technology centres. Its aim is to facilitate technological transfer between widely different sectors such as biotechnology, construction, transport or textiles, among others.


In its Spanish showroom located in the Design Hub Barcelona,  Materfad presents a wide range  of materials samples (biomaterials, ceramics, composites, polymers, etc.). Materfad is part of FAD – Fostering Arts and Design, a private, independent and non-profit association that seeks to promote design and architecture in the country’s cultural and economic life.


Materfad also promotes the building up  of an international network of affiliated centres, thanks to the collaboration, until now,  with Aguascalientes Autonomous University (Mexico), the University of Valparaiso (Chile) Pontificia Bolivariana University of Medellin (Colombia) and MIND (Mexico).

Website and Online Materials Database




Materfad. Barcelona’s materials centre
Pl. de les Glòries Catalanes, 37-38
(Disseny Hub Barcelona Building)
08018 Barcelona (Spain)

+34 932 566 781


«Global Carbon»
New carbon materials announce a technological revolution

Carbon is one of the most abundant elements in living matter. As the structural basis of organic molecules, it is present in carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids, resulting in every plant or animal being formed by complex organic compounds where carbon is combined with hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and others. Life would thus not be possible without carbon.

Humans understood the importance of carbon since the very first hint of civilization, and began to use it as an energy generator to fight darkness and winter. Nowadays a new revolution is beginning, started by the consideration that a new scale – nanometric – should be considered. When carbon nanofibers were discovered, a whole new world of possibilities opened up, with the aim of making an improvement beyond the well-known carbon-based materials. A rising generation of innovative materials based on this idea promises a giant step in almost every field of our technological framework, leading to a possible further evolution of our society.


Six families of carbon-based materials

Materfad has decided to host an exhibition focused on this power of carbon as a source of history and evolution, and specifically on our related future, now the present. Through six carbon-based materials you will be able to visualize the new carbon opening to the world. You will understand a little more of the technological spirit of our society, as our exhibition will approximate a closing of a virtual circle through knowledge transfer. The chosen carbon-based materials are: carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, graphene, nanocellulose, polyfluorenes and carbon aerogels.

Carbon nanotubes

Their name defines their shape: these nanometric tubes made of carbon present outstanding properties in several fields. Their electrical properties make them useful in different conditions since, depending on their structure, they can exhibit a wide range of electrical conductivities. They have excellent mechanical properties (they are approximately 100 times more resistant than steel), and they are extremely efficient thermal conductors.

Carbon nanofibers

As in the case of carbon nanotubes, their name clearly represents their shape. Despite not being such perfect cylinders as carbon nanotubes, they present similar properties and potential applications.


It is an ultra-thin/ultra-light sheet of carbon (with the width of one atom). As with carbon nanotubes, it presents excellent electrical, mechanical and thermal properties, with additional possibilities in electronics and computation provided by its laminar structure.


This nanostructured form of cellulose, either with fiber geometry or as nanocrystalline cellulose, is the most ecological alternative. It can be extracted from many natural sources, and it is completely sustainable and recyclable. Its main advantage is its versatility. Many fields can benefit from the arrival of nanocellulose, as its properties are better than those of cellulose: paper industry, composites, food, energy, medical, cosmetic, pharmaceuticals, membranes for different applications, etc.


These polymers, due to their electroactive and photoactive properties, constitute an excellent option for two main applications, OLEDs and solar cells, presenting flexibility and hence adaptability to many substrates and devices; plus its low cost, making these more affordable.

Carbon aerogels

They are made of nanometric carbon particles covalently bonded together. Their important porosity, as well as their high specific surface, make them suitable for applications that need electrodes with these properties, such as supercapacitors, fuel cells or desalination systems.

Exhibition details

The exhibition will open in 2017 at the Disseny Hub Barcelona.



Javier Peña, PhD in Chemical Science, scientific director of Materfad
Valérie Bergeron, Architect, director of Materfad’s materials library

Research, documentation and drafting of texts

Tomás Castillo, industrial engineer
Hortensia Melero, PhD, industrial engineer
Iván Rodríguez, materials engineer


Project submission: please contact Tomás Castillo at exhibitions@materfad.com

Sponsorship: please contact Gemma Esteban at gesteban@fad.cat

General information: please contact info@materfad.com