Rice team gives epoxy a graphene boost

Rice University scientists have developed a graphene-based epoxy for electronic applications. Epoxy combined with graphene foam invented in the Rice lab of Prof. James Tour) is reportedly substantially tougher than pure epoxy and far more conductive than other epoxy composites, while retaining the material's low density. It could improve upon epoxies in current use that weaken the material's structure with the addition of conductive fillers.

Rice team gives epoxy a graphene boost image

By itself, epoxy is an insulator, and is commonly used in coatings, adhesives, electronics, industrial tooling and structural composites. Metal or carbon fillers are often added for applications where conductivity is desired, like electromagnetic shielding. The trade-off, however, is that more filler brings better conductivity at the cost of weight and compressive strength, and the composite becomes harder to process. The Rice solution replaces metal or carbon powders with a 3D foam made of nanoscale sheets of graphene.

Carbon nanotubes help create reinforced graphene "rebar"

Rice University researchers have found that fracture-resistant “rebar graphene” is more than twice as tough as pristine graphene. While on the two-dimensional scale, graphene is stronger than steel, its extremely thin nature makes it subject to ripping and tearing. Rebar graphene is the nanoscale analog of rebar (reinforcement bars) in concrete, in which embedded steel bars enhance the material’s strength and durability. Rebar graphene, developed by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour in 2014, uses carbon nanotubes for reinforcement.

In a new study, Rice materials scientist Jun Lou, graduate student and lead author Emily Hacopian and collaborators, including Prof. James Tour, stress-tested rebar graphene and found that nanotube rebar diverted and bridged cracks that would otherwise propagate in unreinforced graphene.

First Graphene and Flinders University form a new company to commercialize VFD technology

First Graphene logo imageFirst Graphene is collaborating with Flinders University to launch 2D Fluidics - a company that will aim to commercialize the Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD). 2D Fluidics is 50% owned by FGR and 50% by Flinders University’s newly named Flinders Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology.

The VFD was invented by the Flinders Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology’s Professor Colin Raston and enables new approaches to producing a wide range of materials such as graphene and sliced carbon nanotubes. The key intellectual property used by 2D Fluidics comprises two patents around the production of carbon nanomaterials, assigned by Flinders University.

Graphene and CNTs used together to create new stretchable aerogels

Researchers at Zhejiang University in China have designed a new type of aerogels, made of graphene and carbon nanotubes, that can be reversibly stretched to more than three times their original length, displaying elasticity similar to that of a rubber band. This stretchability, in addition to aerogels' existing properties like ultralow density, light weight, high porosity, and high conductivity, may lead to exciting new applications.

The scientists designed carbon aerogels consisting of both graphene and multi-walled carbon nanotubes assembled into four orders of hierarchical structures ranging from the nanometer to centimeter scale. To fabricate the material into aerogels, the researchers created an ink composed of graphene oxide and nanotubes, and then formed the aerogels via inkjet printing.

New tree-inspired electrodes could boost supercapacitors’ performance

Researchers from the UCLA, Mississippi State University, University of Nevada and China's Central South have designed an efficient and long-lasting graphene-based electrode for supercapacitors. The device’s design was inspired by the structure and function of leaves on tree branches, and it is said to be more than 10 times more efficient than other designs.

An efficient and long-lasting graphene-based electrode for supercapacitors image

The electrode design reportedly provides the same amount of energy storage, and delivers as much power as similar electrodes, despite being much smaller and lighter. In experiments it produced 30% better capacitance — a device’s ability to store an electric charge — for its mass compared to the best available electrode made from similar carbon materials, and 30 times better capacitance per area. It also produced 10 times more power than other designs and retained 95% of its initial capacitance after more than 10,000 charging cycles.

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