What is Graphene?
Graphine is a one atom thick layer of graphite (carbon) with remarkable properties:
- Being a mere one atom thick it is basically invisible and is super light – it weighs practically nothing. It is flexible.
- Even though it is so thin, it is extremely strong – in fact, it is the toughest material known to science. It is “two hundred times stronger than steel and stronger even than diamonds. In principle, you could balance an elephant on a pencil and then place the pencil point on a sheet of graphene without breaking or tearing it.” source
- It is a two-dimensional material meaning that it cannot be any thicker or any thinner than it already is and still be the same substance. “Add an extra layer of carbon to graphene and it goes back to being graphite, take a layer away and the material does not exist at all.” Graphene is the first two dimensional material discovered. source
- It conducts heat faster than any known material and is a better conductor of electricity than any known material. source
- Graphene can be rolled up into super tiny tubes called nanotubes. Such tubes will be extremely stiff, strong, nearly unbreakable and will revolutionize construction. “If you built the suspension for the Brooklyn Bridge out of carbon nanotubes, the bridge would look like it was floating in midair.” source
Graphene has many potential uses:
- Graphene nanotubes will have amazing uses in construction and we may end up using graphene in homes, buildings, bridges, highway or possibly a space elevator. In the future, whole cities may be made of graphene on the moon or Mars.
- Graphene may replace silicon in computer chips and electronics. It may replace current touchscreens, making our devices an unbreakable. Graphene is flexible and and may allow our electronics to be flexible in the future as well. Wearable devices could be super light, strong and flexible if made with graphene.
- Graphene could be used to make solar cells much more efficient.
- ” Graphene’s tight atomic bonds make it impermeable for nearly all gasses and liquids. Curiously, water molecules are an exception. Because water can evaporate through graphene while most other gasses and liquids cannot, graphene could be an exceptional tool for filtration.” source
So – Why Isn’t Graphene Everywhere?
It is extremely hard to produce pure graphene. “The slightest impurity or imperfection at the molecular level can ruin its miraculous physical properties. It is difficult to produce sheets larger than a postage stamp.” source