Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-like pattern. Graphene is considered to be the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material - to both electricity and heat. All this properties are exciting researchers and businesses around the world - as graphene has the potential the revolutionize entire industries - in the fields of electricity, conductivity, energy generation, batteries, sensors and more.

Mechanical strength

Graphene is the world's strongest material, and so can be used to enhance the strength of other materials. Dozens of researches have demonstrated that adding even a trade amount of graphene to plastics, metals or other materials can make these materials much stronger - or lighter (as you can use less amount of material to achieve the same strength).

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Such graphene-enhanced composite materials can find uses in aerospace, building materials, mobile devices, and many other applications.

Thermal applications

Graphene is the world's most conductive material to heat. As graphene is also strong and light, it means that it is a great material to make heat-spreading solutions, such as heat sinks. This could be useful in both microelectronics (for example to make LED lighting more efficient and longer lasting) and also in larger applications - for example thermal foils for mobile devices.

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Energy storage

Because graphene is the world's thinnest material, it is also the material with the highest surface-area to volume ratio. This makes graphene a very promising material to be used in batteries and supercapacitors. Graphene may enable devices that can store more energy - and charge faster, too. Graphene can also be used to enhance fuel-cells.

Coatings ,sensors, electronics and more

Graphene has a lot of other promising applications: anti-corrosion coatings and paints, efficient and precise sensors, faster and efficient electronics, flexible displays, efficient solar panels, faster DNA sequencing, drug delivery, and more.

Graphene is such a great and basic building block that it seems that any industry can benefit from this new material. Time will tell where graphene will indeed make an impact - or whether other new materials will be more suitable.

Latest graphene application news

Graphene-based water filtration project progresses and receives funding boost

Sep 18, 2017

The Smart Filter project received new Innovate UK funding that follows a previous £700,000 project grant awarded in 2015. The previous grant enabled a two-year project by G2O and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), focused on transferring and scaling up the water filtration technology from laboratory to industry, ensuring the technology is usable with full quality control.

The technology has since been validated at CPI and the new grant will focus on transferring it to large-scale manufacturing. That will include the use of industrial printing technology to manufacture membranes and validate their performance using prototypes and will involve collaboration with a number of UK partner organizations including chemicals manufacturer William Blythe and CPI.

Graphene-wrapped nanocrystals may open door toward next-gen fuel cells

Sep 18, 2017

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a mix of metal nanocrystals wrapped in graphene that may open the door to the creation of a new type of fuel cell by enabling enhanced hydrogen storage properties.

Graphene-Wrapped Nanocrystals Make Inroads Toward Next-Gen Fuel Cellsultrathin oxide layer (oxygen atoms shown in red) coating graphene-wrapped magnesium nanoparticles (orange) still allows in hydrogen atoms (blue) for hydrogen storage applications

The team studied how graphene can be used as both selective shielding, as well as a performance increasing factor in terms of hydrogen storage. The study drew upon a range of Lab expertise and capabilities to synthesize and coat the magnesium crystals, which measure only 3-4 nanometers (billionths of a meter) across; study their nanoscale chemical composition with X-rays; and develop computer simulations and supporting theories to better understand how the crystals and their carbon coating function together.

Graphene Oxide market report

Graphene helps improve bio-compatibility of scaffolds, to promote neuron growth

Sep 13, 2017

A team of Researchers from Spain and Italy have created a series of 3D hydrogel scaffolds for neuronal growth using a combination of aqueous graphene dispersions and acrylamide synthesized by in situ radical polymerization.

While this is not the first time acrylamide hydrogels have been synthesized for scaffold applications, they have commonly suffered from biocompatibility issues – a crucial flaw when it comes to implantable scaffolds. To address this issue, the researchers created a series of graphene-polyacrylamide hydrogels which support the growth of living primary neurons.

Spray-on graphene-based coating for improved desalination membranes

Sep 13, 2017

An international group of researchers, including scientists from Shinshu University in Japan and Penn State’s ATOMIC Center, created a graphene and graphene oxide-based coating for desalination membranes which are said to be more scalable and sturdier than current nanofiltration membrane technologies available.

The result of this creation would hopefully be a filter for clean water solutions, protein separation, wastewater treatment, as well as pharmaceutical and food industry applications. This membrane uses a simple spray-on technology to coat a mixture of graphene oxide and graphene in solution onto a backbone support membrane of polysulfone that is modified with polyvinyl alcohol. The team reports that even in the early stages of the development of the membrane, it can already reject 85% of salt, which is sufficient for agricultural purposes, and 96% of dye molecules.

Graphene-enhanced fluid improves solar collectors' efficiency

Sep 13, 2017

Researchers at the University of Lisbon's Centro de Química Estrutural have discovered that the addition of graphene to the working fluid of solar collectors helps to regain some of its lost efficiency. Solar thermal collectors are seen as a simple and inexpensive way to make use of solar energy. Pure water is an efficient heat-transfer fluid, but it must be mixed with antifreeze to prevent damage to pipes during freezing conditions, and this lowers its performance.

Graphene enhances the performance of solar collectors image

The properties of an ideal heat-transfer fluid in a solar collector include a high thermal capacity and a freezing point outside of the temperature range likely to be encountered. Unfortunately, in the case of water, satisfying the latter requirement means compromising on the former, as mixing water with antifreeze makes it a less effective carrier of heat.