Article last updated on: Jan 23, 2019

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).

applications of composites image

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.

The latest Graphene Application news:

Highways England to explore the use of graphene for UK roads

Highways England, a government responsible for motorways and major A roads, has partnered with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Center (GEIC), in order to use graphene to address challenges experienced by the road network in England, such as the deterioration of surfaces. Highways England believes adding graphene into maintenance and renewals operations has the potential to extend asset life and make the network perform at an industry changing level.

The partnership will explore the operational and road user benefit of incorporating graphene into assets such as road surfacing and road markings, as well as help to drive the development of a low carbon and digital road network.

AGM reaches tech progress in the coatings field and announces new liquid coating roofing system

Applied Graphene Materials logoApplied Graphene Materials recently announced it has achieved significant technological progress (patent pending) on the deployment of graphene into water-based coatings to enhance their barrier properties. This water-based breakthrough is based on AGM's platform Genable technology, a range of master dispersions that are designed to facilitate the easy incorporation of graphene into coating formulations and existing processes.

Applied Graphene Materials also announced that UK-based Alltimes Coatings, a leading specialist in the supply and application of protective coatings for buildings, is launching its new Advantage Graphene liquid coating roofing system, with significantly enhanced anti-corrosion performance delivered by the incorporation of AGM's graphene.

Researchers produce graphene by mixing oxidized graphite with bacteria

Researchers at the U.S-based University of Rochester, along with colleagues at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, have designed a way to produce graphene materials using a novel technique: mixing oxidized graphite with bacteria. Their method is reportedly a more cost-efficient, time-saving, and environmentally friendly way of producing graphene materials versus those produced chemically, and could lead to the creation of innovative computer technologies and medical equipment.

Bacterially-made graphene is faster, cheaper and better imageFrom left to right:graphite (Gr), graphene oxide (GO), microbially‐reduced graphene oxide (mrGO), and chemically‐reduced graphene oxide (crGO)

"For real applications you need large amounts," says Anne S. Meyer, an associate professor of biology at the University of Rochester. "Producing these bulk amounts is challenging and typically results in graphene that is thicker and less pure. This is where our work came in". In order to produce larger quantities of graphene materials, Meyer and her colleagues started with a vial of graphite. They exfoliated the graphite-shedding the layers of material-to produce graphene oxide (GO), which they then mixed with the bacteria Shewanella. They let the beaker of bacteria and precursor materials sit overnight, during which time the bacteria reduced the GO to a graphene material.

Billabong to launch graphene-enhanced surfing apparel

Billabong, global maker of surf & snow technical clothing and gear, recently announced its plans to be the first surf brand to go to market with a suit that utilizes graphene. The surfing apparel will be called Furnace Graphene, and is scheduled to appear in Billabong's 2019 fullsuit line.

Billabong to graphene-enhanced neoprene for new surfing apparel imageGraphene-enhanced neoprene to be used in new surfing apparel

The Billabong Furnace Absolute is planned to sport graphene lining on the front and back panels, and be more flexible and easy to use. In addition, it will enjoy flex and thermal retention capabilities. The Company referred to this tech as "an innovative new design where graphene wrapped yarns trap and retain heat more efficiently".

Supercomputer models graphene-water interaction

Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) used the Comet supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), located at the University of California San Diego, to create detailed simulations of graphene-water interactions, to determine if graphene is a good candidate for delivering medicine to a specific part of the body.

Cross-sectional view of seven graphene flakes in a water droplet imageA simulation done using SDSC’s Comet supercomputer shows a cross-sectional view of seven graphene flakes in a water droplet, and that the multi-layered graphene eventually merges together. Credit: Solanky et al.

While graphene has been extensively studied for many years in water-based solutions, especially in the biomedical sciences field, researchers say they still need to better predict the surface traits of such two-dimensional materials when exposed to water or liquids containing water.

Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again! Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again!