Learn how to make graphene. Who would ever know that one can discover the strongest material with just a pencil and a scotch tape?
Really? You can?
Yes, you could. In fact, even with those two things, a Nobel Peace Prize in Physics was awarded to two physicists last 2010 for their discovery.
And their discovery is known as graphene.
This carbon-based material is the thinnest and the strongest material on Earth. It is made from graphite, one of the common forms of carbon together with diamonds. And this material is commonly used for pencil lead.
Making Graphene in your Home
Given the simple way of how graphene was discovered, it is possible to make graphene in your home.
All you need to do is to place a graphite flake onto the tape, fold it in two, and cleave the flake in half. Repeat this procedure more than five times, and you will discover tiny fragments that are a single atom thick.
To identify the graphene, you have to put the scotch tape where you cleaved the graphite flake on to a microscope slide. Once you’ve put it there, check them under a microscope and take a closer look at the spots where you mostly stuck the graphite flake. You can check for layers there that allows light to pass through since graphene has a property that absorbs more light.
Once you see that layer, then voila. You’ve created graphene!
Graphene Mass Production
For industrial manufacturers, this is not how graphene is created.
In reality, graphene is expensive to mass-produce.
But thanks to MIT Engineers, a recent breakthrough has been developed could be the answer to mass-producing long strips of high-quality graphene at lesser costs.
According to John Hart, the director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity at MIT, they followed a roll-to-roll approach, combining the graphene fabrication technique of chemical vapor deposition to produce thin, long foils of graphene.
Based on the test results, it shows that this technique can produce high-quality graphene at 5cm per minute. Its longest running time is four hours, producing 10m of continuous graphene.
Although this breakthrough still needs further research and tests, this discovery will pave a way for more graphene-producing technologies.