Researchers from the University of Minnesota in collaboration with Adama Materials managed to create a highly durable graphene-plastic compound. They say that by adding a tiny amount of graphene, the plastic toughness was increased by about 2.5 times.
This research started two years ago and the researchers are now seeking to refine to process so it can commercialized. The process they develops starts by adding chemical groups on the graphene surface so it bonds better to the epoxy they are using. Then they disperse the graphene in a liquid and pours it into molds and it hardens into the plastic.
The researchers do not know yet why graphene makes the plastic so strong. It may be because the graphene blocks cracks in the plastic and slows their spreading, or that perhaps the graphene creates small layers in the material that can offset and absorb energy, preventing major breakage.