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What is graphene?

Graphene is a material made of carbon atoms that are bonded together in a repeating pattern of hexagons. Graphene is so thin that it is considered two dimensional. Graphene's flat honeycomb pattern gives it many extraordinary characteristics, such as being the strongest material in the world, as well as one of the lightest, most conductive and transparent. Graphene has endless potential applications, in almost every industry (like electronics, medicine, aviation and much more).

An ideal graphene sheet image

The single layers of carbon atoms provide the basis for many other materials. Graphite, like the substance found in pencil lead, is formed by stacked graphene. Carbon nanotubes are made of rolled graphene and are used in many emerging applications from sports gear to biomedicine.

What is graphene oxide?

As graphene is expensive and relatively hard to produce, great efforts are made to find effective yet inexpensive ways to make and use graphene derivatives or related materials. Graphene oxide (GO) is one of those materials - it is a single-atomic layered material, made by the powerful oxidation of graphite, which is cheap and abundant. Graphene oxide is an oxidized form of graphene, laced with oxygen-containing groups. It is considered easy to process since it is dispersible in water (and other solvents), and it can even be used to make graphene. Graphene oxide is not a good conductor, but processes exist to augment its properties. It is commonly sold in powder form, dispersed, or as a coating on substrates.

Graphene Oxide structure

Graphene oxide is synthesized using four basic methods: Staudenmaier, Hofmann, Brodie and Hummers. Many variations of these methods exist, with improvements constantly being explored to achieve better results and cheaper processes. The effectiveness of an oxidation process is often evaluated by the carbon/oxygen ratios of the graphene oxide.

Graphene oxide uses

Graphene Oxide films can be deposited on essentially any substrate, and later converted into a conductor. This is why GO is especially fit for use in the production of transparent conductive films, like the ones used for flexible electronics, solar cells, chemical sensors and more. GO is even studied as a tin-oxide (ITO) replacement in batteries and touch screens.

Graphene Oxide has a high surface area, and so it can be fit for use as electrode material for batteries, capacitors and solar cells. Graphene Oxide is cheaper and easier to manufacture than graphene, and so may enter mass production and use sooner.

GO can easily be mixed with different polymers and other materials, and enhance properties of composite materials like tensile strength, elasticity, conductivity and more. In solid form, Graphene Oxide flakes attach one to another to form thin and stable flat structures that can be folded, wrinkled, and stretched. Such Graphene Oxide structures can be used for applications like hydrogen storage, ion conductors and nanofiltration membranes.

Graphene oxide is fluorescent, which makes it especially appropriate for various medical applications. bio-sensing and disease detection, drug-carriers and antibacterial materials are just some of the possibilities GO holds for the biomedical field.

Buy Graphene Oxide

Graphene oxide is relatively affordable and easy to find, with many companies that sell it. It does, however, get confusing since different companies offer products that vary in quality, price, form and more - making the choice of a specific product challenging. If you are interested in buying GO, contact Graphene-Info for advisement on the right GO for your exact needs!

Further reading

Latest Graphene Oxide news

The Sixth Element opens a European office, we talk with its new sales director

Jul 28, 2016

Bernhard Münzing photoThe Sixth Element Materials Technology is a Chengzhou, China based company that develops and produces graphene and graphene oxide materials. The company recently opened a sales office in Europe, and appointed Bernhard Münzing as sales director.

Bernhard was kind enough to participate in an interview with graphene-info. Bernhard is an industrial engineer with a focus on chemistry, who has held different positions in sales, materials management, marketing and business development in big as well as medium sized chemical companies.

Q: We understand that The Sixth Element (T6E) currently produces graphene flakes and graphene oxide, in a 100 ton/year plant in Chengzhou. Is that correct? Can you tell us anything regarding the current production plant?

Graphene oxide-based foam to clean dirty water

Jul 27, 2016

Researchers at Washington University have managed to use graphene oxide sheets to create a biofoam that can transform dirty water into drinking water. Their hope is that in countries where there is a lot of sunlight, it'll be possible to take dirty water, evaporate it using this material, and collect fresh water.

This new method combines bacteria-produced cellulose and graphene oxide to form a bi-layered biofoam. The production process is said to be extremely simple, and the nanoscale cellulose fiber network produced by bacteria has excellent ability to move the water from the bulk to the evaporative surface while minimizing the heat coming down. The material is a bi-layered structure with light-absorbing graphene oxide filled nanocellulose at the top and pristine nanocellulose at the bottom. When suspended this on water, the water is actually able to reach the top surface where evaporation happens.

Graphene Batteries Market Report

William Blythe to start selling graphene oxide

Jul 25, 2016

William Blythe, Uk-based chemicals manufacturer, has announced the addition of graphene oxide to its portfolio of innovative products. According to the company, this step was made possible when the company moved graphene oxide to large lab scale manufacture and reached kilogram capacity production.

William Blythe GO roadmap image

William Blythe is currently able to offer graphene oxide as a dispersion in deionised water. The percentage dispersions are agreed upon with customers on an individual basis. WB's current capabilities allow the manufacture of up to 20 kg of powdered graphene oxide equivalent per annum with the intention of increasing to tonnage scale in the next 6 – 12 months.

Graphene oxide-based electrode separator to solve a major problem in lithium-sulphur batteries

Jul 06, 2016

Researchers from AIST in Japan and Nanjing University in China have developed a metal-organic framework-based graphene oxide composite as a separator for Li-S batteries, that could help solve the “polysulphide shuttling problem” in these batteries. The composite acts as an ionic sieve that selectively separates out Li+ ions while stopping polysulphides migrating to the anode and reportedly helps reduce capacity decay rates down to just 0.019% per cycle over 1500 cycles.

MOFs are ordered solids made of inorganic sub-units connected by organic linkers. They have a large surface area and highly ordered pores, and their porosity can be tuned. According to the researchers, the MOF membrane in this work separates out polysulphides based on their size and shape; The team chose a copper MOF that possesses a 3D structure with micropores that have narrow accessible size windows of around 9 Å. This is smaller than the diameter of lithium polysulphides (that are between 4 and 8 Å in diameter) and so the pores effectively block the sulphides. The researchers found that the MOFs do not degrade even after 200 cycles of battery charge/discharge, and no polysulphides pass through the membrane for 48 hours.

U of Maryland team creates GO-based 3D printed micro-scale heating elements

Jun 01, 2016

Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a method to 3D print heating elements. The created heating elements could be very small and at the same time they can create high temperatures.

Heating GO elements for 3d printing

Heating elements may have various uses, like ones for chemical reactions that often need some sort of heating to work. For this purpose it was common to use a laser to create high temperatures at a small scale, but it is very expensive and doesn’t provide a consistent temperature. This is why researchers decided to develop a new technique to 3D print very small heating elements.