In the field of materials science, there have been many exciting advancements, but very few have generated the level of enthusiasm as seen for the “miracle material” known as Graphene. The features gathered in it have never been seen before in a single substance. It is the strongest, thinnest, lightest, best electricity- and heat- conducting material ever discovered. These amazing characteristics are a consequence of the 2D structure that the Graphene has, consisted on a single layer of carbon atoms, arranged in a hexagonal lattice. It has been estimated that Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel, similar to the diamond’s resistance, but a lot lighter. In addition, it conducts both heat and electricity very effectively, better by far than copper. Moreover, it is extremely thin and light; a sheet of graphene large enough to cover a football pitch would weigh less than a gram!
Even though the Graphene has excellent characteristics, its development has been quite slow due to the high investment needed to produce the material. However the two main methods of production “Exfoliation” and “Epitaxy” have been economically reduced over the last few years and it is expected that economically-viable products will soon be under production.
- Potential Applications of Graphene.
Aviation: Manufacture of aircraft using graphene means that they will be lighter and therefore run on much less fuel, saving money while also reducing emissions. It could also enable aircraft to be made larger and fit more passengers, again reducing cost per passenger in terms of fuel consumption and number of flights required.
Electronic: Flexible smartphones, virtually unbreakable touch screens.
Medicine: Bioelectric sensors, artificial implants.
Energy Storage: Rapidly-charging batteries in mere seconds.
Computing: Chips 10,000 times faster than standard chips.
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