Rice University and Ford Motors Company use flash Joule heating process to upcycle plastic from end-of-life F-150 trucks

Researchers from Rice University and Ford Motor Company are working together on turning plastic parts from end-of-life vehicles into graphene, via the university’s flash Joule heating process.

Upcycling end-of-life vehicle waste plastic into flash graphene image

The Rice lab of chemist James Tour introduced flash Joule heating in 2020 to convert coal, waste food, plastic and other materials into graphene.

Rice team modifies its Flash Graphene process to produce doped graphene

The Rice lab of professor James Tour has modified its flash Joule heating process to produce doped graphene that tailors the material’s properties for optical and electronic devices.

Heteroatom-Doped Flash Graphene process image

The modified process shows how graphene can be doped with a single element or with pairs or trios of elements. The process was demonstrated with single elements boron, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur, a two-element combination of boron and nitrogen, and a three-element mix of boron, nitrogen and sulfur.

New initiative involving U.S Army and academia will promote graphene applications

A new initiative has been established, to explore the development of various applications for graphene, from graphene-infused asphalt and concrete to water filtration systems.

To this end, researchers at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) will be working with top research institutions and experts from the University of Mississippi (UM), Jackson State University (JSU) and Rice University. The collaboration will explore graphene’s unique abilities in uses ranging from advanced materials-by-design to self-sensing infrastructure.

Machine learning helps improve the flash graphene process

Scientists at Rice University are using machine-learning techniques to fine-tune the process of synthesizing graphene from waste through flash Joule heating. The researchers describe in their new work how machine-learning models that adapt to variables and show them how to optimize procedures are helping them push the technique forward.

Machine Learning Guided Synthesis of Flash Graphene imageMachine learning is fine-tuning Rice University’s flash Joule heating method for making graphene from a variety of carbon sources, including waste materials. Credit: Jacob Beckham, from: Phys.org

The process, discovered by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour, has expanded beyond making graphene from various carbon sources to extracting other materials like metals from urban waste, with the promise of more environmentally friendly recycling to come. The technique is the same: blasting a jolt of high energy through the source material to eliminate all but the desired product. However, the details for flashing each feedstock are different.

Rice team develops an acoustic processing method to analyze LIG synthesis in real time

Researchers at Rice University have found that sound can be used to analyze the properties of laser-induced graphene (LIG) in real time.

The researchers, two of which are brothers, say that they heard something unusual while making graphene. Ultimately, they determined the sound itself could give them valuable data about the product. The brothers, John Li, a Rice alumnus now studying at Stanford University, and Victor Li, then a high school student in New York and now a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are co-lead authors of a paper that describes the real-time analysis of laser-induced graphene (LIG) production through sound.