What is Graphene and What Can It Do?
Graphene is a single sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice (like a honeycomb pattern). It is the basic building block of graphite, the material that is used in pencil lead.
Graphene is probably a word that you’ve never heard of. But it’s actually a powerful material on Earth. It even is making rounds in the field of science and technology. Get to know what graphene is all about and what it is made of.
When being isolated from graphite, graphene is one atom thick and is two-dimensional. It is made up of wondrous properties that no substance can ever pass that. As such, it is hailed by many as a supermaterial.
Graphene is technically composed of carbon atom and a covalent bond that formed a honeycomb pattern.
What is Graphene used for?
With the amazing properties and characteristics that make up the graphene, it is highly applicable in various fields. And interestingly, graphene is the key to improve and revolutionize these key industries:
Graphene has the potential to keep energy. Due to its amazing electrical and thermal conductivity, graphene can be used as super batteries, supercapacitors, and wind and solar panels.
Thanks to graphene, the lifespan of a traditional lithium-ion battery will dramatically increase. Thus, charging your electronic devices quickly and keeping your battery last for days even after extreme usage.
With the high resistivity of graphene, the development of durable coatings is realized. And by durable, that means the coatings are hydrophobic, conductive, and chemically-resistant. Even better, they are resistant to cracks. For some coatings, they can even be resistant to scratches and UVA exposure. Thus, making it a huge market potential.
Graphene is a key material to use for ultra-sensitive sensors. With graphene-based sensors, harmful minuscule particles can be detected easily thanks to the atoms in graphene that can sense changes in surroundings easily. Moreover, it has even paved the way for the creation of micrometer-sized sensors, with the capability of detecting substances at a molecular level.
Besides the detection of harmful substances, graphene also helps in monitoring vital crops in agriculture. Graphene-powered sensors will help farmers monitor harmful gasses that are causing an impact on crop fields so they can take action fast. Additionally, graphene sensors can monitor the atmospheric conditions of areas to know which one is ideal for certain crops to grow.
The future is bright and bold for graphene, and it’s making a way to bring a better impact on the world. We may be at graphene’s infancy stage. But towards the upcoming years, scientists and researchers around the world will see the potential that graphene brings to every industry.
What Are The Characteristics of Graphene?
As pointed out, graphene has wondrous properties. Here are some of the major characteristics that make up this supermaterial.
Graphene is the world’s strongest material. It has a strength of 42 N/m, which has an intrinsic strength of 130 GPa (gigapascals). It is even 200x stronger than the strongest steel.
Graphene is also highly elastic. No matter how strained it is, graphene is still able to maintain its initial size. Based on the Atomic Force Microscopic (AFM) tests carried on graphene sheets, it showed that graphene sheets had spring constants in the region of 1-5 N/m and Young’s modulus of 0.5TPa.
Despite being the toughest material, graphene is also lightweight. In fact, it weighs 0.77 milligrams per square meter. It is said that a single sheet of graphene would weigh under 1 single gram.
4. Good electrical conductor
With the low defect density of the crystal lattice, graphene has the highest electrical conductivity.
Graphene can only absorb about 2.3% of reflecting light, despite being an atom thick. It is even better than ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) nanoparticles, which is commonly used to fabricate transparent conductive films.