April 11, 2014

...AND CHEAPER...:

'Miracle material' graphene one step closer to commercial use (Euan McKirdy, 4/10/14, CNN)

As well as being super-strong -- 20 times stronger than diamond, 200 stronger than steel and six times lighter -- it is also remarkably conductive, both electrically and thermally.

If that wasn't enough, it is also almost perfectly transparent, impermeable to gas, and its properties are, scientists say, easily alterable.

Graphene is one form -- an allotrope -- of carbon, the basis of all life on earth. More familiar carbon allotropes include diamonds and graphite. What makes it unique is its thinness -- at one atom thick it is as good as two-dimensional. Its flexibility means that it could potentially be used for flexible or wearable devices.

"Graphene has a lot of potential, especially in terms of industrial applications for optical and electronic devices," says Ping Sheng, a Professor of Nanoscience at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

"The caveat is really in the quality of the graphene that can be produced on a large scale ... If they can overcome that then it will be a big breakthrough."

Another byproduct of its remarkable thinness is its low weight. It could be used to create ultra-light components for, say, the aviation industry, dramatically reducing the weight of aircraft -- and thus significantly improving fuel efficiency -- without compromising strength or integrity.
Posted by at April 11, 2014 5:07 AM
  
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