Miracle substance grown in common household blender
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/22/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
A team of scientists from Ireland and the UK may have just discovered a quick new way to mass produce the wonder material grapheme.
Graphene's incredibly strength and flexibility make the material highly useful in manufacturing electronics.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Published in the journal Nature Materials, the team outlines how they managed to produce a quantity of the material by putting graphite powder into a blender, and then adding water and dishwashing liquid, mixing the concoction at high speeds.
Graphene comes in a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms, arranged in a honeycomb structure. It is thin, strong, flexible, and electrically conductive material that has the potential to revolutionize the electronics world, as well as other industries. This potential has kept researchers looking for a way to make defect-free grapheme quickly, and in large amounts.
The shearing force generated by the blender's rapidly rotating blade was sufficient to separate the layers of grapheme in the solution without damaging the two-dimensional structure. The precise amount of dishwashing fluid that's required for the process to work is dependent on a number of different factors and the black solution containing grapheme needs to be carefully separated afterwards, so it is not advisable to try this at home.
Researchers say that their work has helped them progress towards mass production, and scientists working in conjunction with Thomas Swan, a UK-based firm, hope to scale up the process and build a test plant that could produce a kilo of grapheme per day by the end of 2014.
Beyond just electronic and industrial uses, grapheme may find its way into water treatment, oil spill clean-ups, or even help produce thinner condoms.
Grapheme was discovered in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konsantin Novoselov, researchers from Manchester University. The material was discovered when they used sticky tape to peel off layers of the material from graphite.
Currently, graphene is grown atom-by-atom with a process called chemical vapour deposition. While this process can produce large sheets of the material, they also can have defects which limit their usability.
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