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Scientists have outlined how they managed to make the "wonder material" graphene using a kitchen blender.
Graphene is thin, strong, flexible and electrically conductive, and has the potential to transform electronics as well as other technologies.
An Irish-UK team poured graphite powder (used in pencil leads) into a blender, then added water and dishwashing liquid, mixing at high speed.
The results are reported in the journal Nature Materials.
Because of its potential uses in industry, a number of researchers have been searching for ways to make defect-free graphene in large amounts.
The material comprises a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb structure. Graphite - mixed with clay to produce the lead in pencils - is effectively made up of many layers of graphene stacked on top of one another.
Jonathan Coleman from Trinity College Dublin and colleagues tested out a variety of laboratory mixers as well as kitchen blenders as potential tools for manufacturing the wonder material.
Graphene is a form of carbon that exists as a sheet, one atom thick
Atoms are arranged into a two-dimensional honeycomb structure
Discovery of graphene announced in 2004 by the journal Science
About 100 times stronger than steel; conducts electricity better than copper
Touted as possible replacement for silicon in electronics
About 1% of graphene mixed into plastics could make them conductive
The scientists have been working with UK-based firm Thomas Swan to scale up the process, with the aim of building a pilot plant that could produce a kilo of graphene per day by the end of the year.
originally posted by: bitsforbytes
Once you've made it what do you do with it?
originally posted by: Grimpachi
Professor Hone once put it as the material is so strong that "it would take an elephant, balanced on a pencil, to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of Saran Wrap.”